HE Alpha Conde, president of Guinea

EAST AFRICA — The West African nation of Nigeria said it will begin issuing visas to all Africans on arrival in the country, the African Union announced Friday, in what political analysts say is a key step toward the goal of free movement on the continent.

Kwesi Quartey, in a Facebook post, the African Union’s deputy chairman praised the decision as a “laudable move towards Africa’s integration agenda.”

The African Union has encouraged and backed a “single African passport” that seeks to increase intra-African trade and has called for “the abolishment of visa requirements for all African citizens in all African countries by 2018.”

Ebba Kalondo, a spokeswoman for the AU chairperson, informed Globe Afrique and other media institutions they were waiting for specifics from Nigeria since the news was “announced verbally with no formal communication.”

Authorities in Nigerian could not directly be reached.  The West Africa nation announced the action at a retreat for African Union permanent representatives, according to the AU’s political affairs office in a tweet.

According to the AU statistics, Africans need visas to travel to 55 percent of the continent. This impacts integration on the continent.

Africans can get a visa on arrival in just 24 percent of other African countries, while North Americans, for example, have easier travel access on the continent, according to the African Development Bank’s 2017 Africa Visa Openness Report.