Kwame and representatives from the FCO’s Know Before You Go (KBYG) campaign will be at Africa Oyé, the UK’s largest free celebration of African music and culture, at Sefton Park in Liverpool on Saturday 20th June from 12.30 – 9.30pm. A KBYG yellow Tro-Tro (Ghanaian taxi van), symbolic of the modes of transport commonly used in African countries, will be at the Review Field, where media and attendees can meet Kwame, receive free travel advice as well as win prizes.
Africa Oyé aims to highlight the vibrancy in the range of African cultures, food, music and artists. For those who plan to visit Africa and experience this vibrancy first hand, KBYG helps travellers to be fully prepared before their trip by providing essential travel advice such as information on local laws and customs and the importance of taking out travel insurance.
Jess Prasad from the FCO says: “There are about two million people that travel to Africa and the Caribbean every year, including those who head out to visit family and friends. While most have a trouble free time, people that don’t prepare properly for their trip can experience difficulties such as losing their passport, being a victim of crime or being struck down with malaria, particularly through assuming they might be immune. Many of these problems are preventable, so we urge people to check the FCO website (www.fco.gov.uk/travel) for advice before they go so that their trip is as enjoyable as possible.”
FCO staff in Africa have to deal with a range of problems experienced by British Nationals every day; from not having the correct visa and being declined entry to being faced with sky high medical bills. For example, an air ambulance from Ghana to the UK, including medical expenses, could cost travellers more than £40,000*.
The most common problem for those travelling to South Africa is lost and stolen passports. Graham Stubbings from the British High Commission in South Africa says: “Last year we had to deal with over 800 lost or stolen passports. That’s why we urge people to make copies of important travel documents and keep them separately to the originals, so it’s easier if you have to replace them.”
British-born Kwame Kwei-Armah is an actor, playwright and broadcaster. He first appeared on our television screens as Finlay Newton in hit series Casualty and subsequently went on to become the first Black Briton to have a play staged in the West End.
Kwame comments: “I have spent a lot of time in Africa and absolutely love the continent. I go there to either explore or visit friends and family. Africa is beautiful and most people who go there have a great time. However, it is also a place where problems can easily occur if you’re not prepared. The Know Before You Go campaign is really important and I’m proud to be an ambassador for the campaign at Africa Oye”.
The FCO has a range of travel advice and tips including a page on visiting friends and family – one of the most common reasons for British people visiting Africa. For further information please visit or www.fco.gov.uk/travel or www.fco.gov.uk/friendsandfamily.
*figure supplied by First Assist Services Ltd