Tourism: Namibia President is wondering why his country does not waive Visa for African Diplomats
President Hage Geingob has urged lawmakers to honour a Cabinet resolution and African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 by speeding up the process of abolishing travel restrictions for all African officials and diplomat passport holders.
AU Agenda 2063, championed by the then AU Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, calls for the scrapping of visa requirements for all African citizens travelling on the continent by 2018.
The continental body has also pledged to introduce a single continental passport allowing Africans to move freely across borders by 2020.
The Namibia Cabinet endorsed the resolution on May 24, 2016, and tasked the ministry of home affairs to spearhead the process but this has been happening at a snail’s pace.
Geingob made the remarks during a tête-à-tête with the Togolese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor Robert Dussey, who visited State House on Friday.
Dussey advised that the two countries introduce a visa waiver for all official and diplomat passport holders to allow the smooth movement of officials between Namibia and Togo.
“I already instructed the custodian ministers to implement that Cabinet decision to scrap visa requirements for all African diplomats and I just don’t know what is delaying the process. We cannot talk about an integrated Africa and at the same [time] we have put travel restrictions,” President Geingob told his guest.
He further said it is high time Africa removed the colonial-era boundaries that hinder travel and trade across the continent.
Geingob said the visa waiver would facilitate easy movement of officials to be able to interact without hindrance.
The Togolese minister was in Namibia at the invitation of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Relations and Cooperation, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, for bilateral talks in the areas of diplomatic relations, trade, transport, tourism and fisheries.
Nandi-Ndaitwah confirmed that there is already an agreement of cooperation between the two governments on socio-economic, political, technical, scientific, and commercial areas.
She said the visit’s aim was to actively engage in exploring the available opportunities in both countries in the areas of trade and investment.
Draft agreements that exist between the two countries are in the areas of air services, livestock and fishing as well as tourism, and another agreement covering the fields of agriculture, air transport and tourism has been finalised.
“It is heart-warming to know that, coordination is continuing between sectoral ministries in both countries geared towards the finalisation of the drafts and full implementation of those that have been signed,” Nandi-Ndaitwah said.
With the government moving towards making Namibia the preferred logistics hub in the southern African sub-continent, Nandi-Ndaitwah used the platform to invite the Togolese government and private sector role players to take advantage of the opportunities offered by Namibia’s transport infrastructure and transport corridors, for purposes of trade to and from the Southern African Development Community region.