Most African countries do not recognize dual citizenship. This is mainly due to post-colonial concerns, when newly independent African countries wanted to ensure loyalty as part of nation building. They also wanted to control the demographic composition of their countries. In particular, these laws targeted those within the country who were not of “African” origin.
Below are 12 African countries that allow dual citizenship.
Ghana adopted the Dual Citizenship Act in 2000 which allows Ghanaians to hold other citizenships. The law provides for non-Ghanaians who reside in the country to apply for citizenship by registration. Individuals can also apply for Ghanaian citizenship if they have contributed in any documented area that promotes national interest. In 2002, parliament passed the Citizenship Act 2002 (Act 591), which allows individuals with U.S. Citizenship to apply for dual citizenship.
Nigeria adopted dual citizenship in 1999 under the leadership of former President General Ibrahim Babaginda. According to the law, any person who is a Nigerian citizen by birth can acquire citizenship of other countries.
South Africa adopted dual citizenship law in 2004. Individuals aged 18 and older who are interested in dual citizenship must also apply to retain their South African status. They automatically lose their South African citizenship if they do not. Once granted dual citizenship, individuals must use their South African passport to enter or leave the nation.
In 2007, the West African nation officially adopted dual citizenship. The bill was passed as an amendment to the 1973 Citizenship Act, in November 2006. Under the amended law, citizens can retain their citizenship status or restore it if they had lost the status under the previous law.
Namibia accepted dual citizenship in June 2011. The High Court in Windhoek ruled that Namibian citizens by birth can apply for dual citizenship. The ruling effectively changed Section 26 of the Namibian Citizenship Act which had prohibited dual citizenship to Namibian citizens by birth.
The East African nation’s parliament enacted the dual citizenship law in 2009, in an amendment to the Uganda Citizenship and Immigration Control (Amendments) Act 2009. Uganda only allows for individuals to hold citizenship of two countries. Individuals must be granted dual citizenship in the other country in order to be approved as Ugandan citizens.
Ivory Coast, a leading producer of cocoa, accepted dual citizenship in 2004. It can be acquired by birth. Children born in the nation to foreign parents can acquire the citizenship of Ivory Coast. In August 2013, parliament passed legislation that allows foreigners to acquire Ivorian citizenship upon marrying an Ivory Coast citizen. The law also allows foreign-born citizens who have lived reside in the West African nation before independence to become citizens alongside their descendants. Individuals born in the nation between 1961 and 1973 and their children also qualify for citizenship.
It is the biggest economy in East and Central Africa. On Aug. 27 2010, the nation adopted a new constitution that allows dual citizenship under due process outlined in the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act of 2011. All individuals who had applied for citizenship of other countries before the new constitution lost their Kenyan citizenship but can regain it through a process outlined in the law.
Foreigners born in the West African nation are able to acquire Benin citizenship if their parents are stateless or unknown. Foreigners must have legally resided in the nation for at least 10 years in order to qualify for Benin citizenship.
It is one of the poorest countries in the world. Parliament passed legislation that allows dual citizenship on May 3, 2000. The law was passed primarily to help address the issue of Burundians who lost their citizenship after seeking asylum in other countries due to the civil strife in 1970s. It was passed before a peace accord was signed to end years of civil conflict in the tiny nation.
Zimbabwe only allows citizens born in the country or whose parents were born there to apply for dual citizenship. In June 2014, a constitutional court endorsed unrestricted entitlement to dual citizenship to all Zimbabwean citizens.
It is contained in the Code of Moroccan Nationality, which was passed on Sept. 6, 1958. An individual must be granted permission by the government before he/she applies for dual citizenship.
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