The establishment of a visa center is likely also a tactical gambit, placing the state carrier at the heart of efforts to ease movement across the continent. In November, Ethiopia started a visa-on-arrival push for all African travelers as more African nations liberalized their visa regimes to attract more trade and tourists. The plan is also beneficial for Ethiopian especially since its hub in Addis Ababa has now overtaken Dubai as the world’s gateway into Africa.

The visa hub is also symptomatic of China’s deepening place in Africa. Besides coming to work and trade, Chinese tourists are showing increased interest in the continent’s cultural and historical sites. Cognizant of this, countries including Kenya, Morocco, and Tunisia have eased their visa rules or launched marketing campaigns to incentivize and attract more Chinese travelers. South Africa has even gone as far as issuing business travelers five to ten-year, multiple-entry visas on arrival.

Sign up to the Quartz Africa Weekly Brief here for news and analysis on African business, tech and innovation in your inbox

📬 Sign up for the Daily Brief

Our free, fast, and fun briefing on the global economy, delivered every weekday morning.