Why I’m not traveling to West Africa

     Visa costs for US citizens in US dollars:

     A couple of notes: there is a discrepancy between the cost of the visa at the embassy in USA or from a nearby country (or at the border) for a few countries. Also, this is for single entry. Ghana, for example, is $100 for multiple entry.

     There is a flipside to this. One reason visa costs are high is a reaction to what USA charges foreigners for a visa, $140 last I checked. The reason we charge $140 is because of a rule that states the visa cost should reflect the actual processing cost. I don’t know how they compute that but, like public transportation, some things have an intangible, incalculable benefit that should override the number crunching.
     I go back and forth about this. On the one hand, I think this tit-for-tat of countries to use “reciprocity”, as it’s called, is shortsighted and they are shooting themselves in the foot to make a point. Intuitively, there should be a big economic benefit of a lower visa cost. On the other hand, if visas were free throughout West Africa, would American tourists flood in? No. Would it be a good start?
     I would love to visit. It’d be rough going, but I also know it would be completely unforgettable. I simply don’t want to shell out $1000 for visas. Is it hypocritical of me to complain about this?

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Why I’m not traveling to West Africa — 6 Comments

  1. I feel your pain, but sometimes you want to go enough to make the cost worth while. Right? My move is to just try to stay in the country for as long as they’ll let me, so the visa cost only works out to a couple of bucks per day of travel there. It doesn’t make the cost any less, obviously, but it certainly makes me feel better about it.

  2. Costs are definitely a bummer, but I agree Stephen’s strategy 🙂 Mali is definitely one of those countries with a discrepancy and it’s a big difference. Visa is $30 on arrival at either airport or land border.

  3. I’m just seeing this now, and it hurts. But you might take another look now. I paid $50 for the Ivoirian visa, from an Ivoirian embassy in France.
    And ditto to what you said about Phil’s bus ride.

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