The United States will lift restrictions on air travelers from 33 countries from November, the White House announced on Monday. Energy Capital & Power (ECP), organizer of the U.S.-Africa Energy Forum (USAEF), and the African Energy Chamber, host of the African Energy Week in Cape Town, welcome the news.
Current bans on travel from South Africa, the UK, Ireland, the EU Schengen zone, Iran, China, Brazil and India for non-US citizens will be replaced with a new policy requiring vaccination for non-citizens. Testing requirements for unvaccinated Americans will also be introduced. Full details of the policy are still being developed, White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients stated, noting that the new system will be in place from ‘early November’.
“We know vaccines are effective, including against the delta variant, and vaccines are the best line of defense against [Covid-19], so this vaccination requirement deploys the best tool we have in our arsenal to keep people safe and prevent the spread of the virus,” said Zients on Monday, according to Reuters.
Shares in European airlines saw an immediate uptick upon the announcement, including British Airways’ parent company IAG, which gained 11.2%. The move will be welcomed by African energy businesses with offices and headquarters in South Africa, Europe and the UK.
On 9-10 December 2021, ECP and its partners will host the U.S.-Africa Energy Forum in Houston. The re-opening of U.S. air travel to vaccinated travelers will allow South African delegations and African private companies to participate in the forum and secure new funding and technology partners from the United States. ECP is excited to reunite Africa’s and the United States’ energy leaders in Houston. The USAEF is held with the support of the African Energy Chamber, City of Houston, Texas-West Africa Chamber of Commerce, Rystad Energy and other partners.
On 9-12 November 2021 the African Energy Chamber brings African, European and American investors and delegations to Cape Town for African Energy Week. The meeting represents the safest, most innovative and most comprehensive energy sector gathering on the African continent in 2021. The new U.S. rules, if implemented on time, could provide a boost to attendance and will demonstrate a move to a more pragmatic travel regime for energy businesses.
The lifting of the U.S. travel ban from South Africa follows Germany’s decision on Sunday to remove South Africa from its list of ‘high risk’ countries. The UK maintains its restrictions on travel from South Africa and many other African countries but removes Egypt and Kenya from its ‘red list’ starting on Wednesday and will introduce a new travel regime in October.