If you are a Ghanaian who wishes to visit Egypt and failed to do so during the Africa Cup of Nations 2019 (AFCON 2019), then you probably have to wait till the country hosts the tournament again as it is almost impossible to get visa from the Egyptian Embassy in Ghana. If you have plans of seeing the River Nile in Egypt, then you better go to Uganda as it flows there as well since you may not want to wait for weeks/months to hear that the Egyptian Embassy has denied your visa application for no reason.
Many people, like myself, who has visited Egypt did so while on transit to other countries. Passengers transiting Cairo with longer transfer hours are taken into hotels in the city as they wait for their connecting flights. I got the chance to see Egypt while traveling to China in 2015. I spent few hours in the city and wanted to visit the country later to explore it proper.
I lodged an application at the Embassy in 2016 with high hopes of visiting Egypt. They have a very simple visa application process and the attendant told me that applications are sent to Egypt for approval. As a frequent traveler with history of spending a day in Egypt, I expected to hear something positive from the embassy in few days/weeks for my visa. I waited for weeks and nothing was happening. I needed my documents for other businesses so I went there for them and was told I will still be called once a decision is made on my application. It’s almost 2020 and I’m still waiting to hear from the embassy whether my application has been approved or denied.
My case isn’t alone. I have had several complaints from people who experienced same. A friend of mine who was determined to visit Egypt again after he transited there also witnessed same.
Kwame Asiedu (name changed) booked one of the expensive hotels in Egypt, paid for airline ticket hoping to have a good time in Cairo but Kwame was lucky; not that he was given a visa, but at least he heard from the embassy that the visa has been denied. There seems to be only one employee at the embassy as the woman told Kwame that no one picks calls when she’s not around. This was after Kwame complained that none of his many calls were answered.
Freda Obeng-Ampofo also shared her experience on Google. She rated the Embassy 1 out of 5 and said “Terrible. I was in the waiting room with others for over two hours before an older lady came to see us, even that, she seemed very unenthusiastic. The place was blazing hot and super unwelcoming.”
Why then an Egyptian Embassy in Ghana?
The embassy does not have a website. It only owns a Facebook page and even that, it has nothing visa related. The Facebook page is a special one for the commercial department of the embassy, yes commercial. This tells the interest of the embassy in Ghana.
Reviews on the embassy on Google by Egyptians in Ghana are either 4 or 5 out of 5 and this also tells that they are here in the interest of their people resident in Ghana and provide them with the best of service to deserve the 5/5 ratings. Safaa Ismail reviewed on Google “The Egyptian Embassy in Accra provides services to Egyptians in Ghana”.
Ghana and Egypt
Ghana and Egypt have had strong relations since we gained independence from Britain in 1957. Our first president Kwame Nkrumah married an Egyptian and his popularity in Egypt strengthens our relations. But it looks like Ghana isn’t gaining much from these relations. In 2012 alone, Egyptians exports to Ghana amounted to about $70 million while Egyptians imports from Ghana was about $12 million, according to Egypt Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) website. We don’t have easy access to the country so there is no way we can export much aside the usual Cocoa and Timber. Egypt on the other hand has flooded the Ghanaian market with building materials, paints, cement and steel structures for buildings, food, juices, and shuttle buses, the MFA confirms on its website.
The Government of Ghana encourages exportation but without us traveling to foreign countries to explore, network and establish business relationships, there is no way we can export. While Egypt brings in almost everything, we send nothing to them aside Timber and Cocoa which are handled by the government.
As President Akufo Addo signs mutual travel agreements between countries, he should consider Egypt as well because any trade deal signed would be to their benefit only if we have no means to visit their country.
Egyptians visiting Ghana can get on the next available flight to Accra and get a 30-day visa on arrival at the airport while it’s almost impossible for Ghanaians visiting Egypt to obtain visas.
Ghanaian passport ranks ahead of Egyptian passport and tightening visa requirement for Ghanaians isn’t fair. According to Henley Passport Index, Egyptian passport is ranked 95th in the world while Ghana’s is ranked 80th. Ghanaian passport travels to 64 countries visa-free and Egypt’s travels to 49 countries visa-free. Ghanaians truly don’t deserve this struggle in obtaining visa to Egypt.
Despite rising calls for countries in Africa to take away their borders, Egypt and others like Mauritius seem to be tightening theirs.
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