Namibia: Borders Open, Conditional to Neighbours

Namibian President Hage Geingob addressing a Covid-19 media briefing.
18 September 2020

AS the six-month long Covid-19 state of emergency lapses, Namibia's borders are once again open but travel might still be limited as some other countries remain locked down.

This was said by minister of international relations and cooperation Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah at the 18th Covid-19 public briefing on Namibia's national response measures.

"On the issue of the borders, our airspace is opened to tourists, business - basically it's now open.

"As for the land borders, we know for the past six months they were only open for essential trade in accordance with Southern African Development Community (Sadc) guidelines of movement of goods during the [pandemic]. But when it comes to opening all activities, that has to be done bilaterally because it does not help to say you open your border and the other border is closed," Nandi-Ndaitwah said.

While South Africa intends to open some of its borders as of Monday, Namibia's neighbours to the north and west remain closed.

Angola's borders remain closed, only allowing nationals and foreign residents to enter, foreign citizens to exit and official trips. Botswana's borders also remain closed only allowing entry to nationals; and there are currently no commercial flights into or out of that country.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's borders also remain closed with plans to resume international flights in October, while Zambia has reopened its borders with both domestic and international flights to resume.

Nandi-Ndaitwah said there is direct contact between ministries of home affairs who are responsible for immigration as South Africa prepares to open some of its borders on Monday.

Furthermore, the minister said Namibia's missions abroad have already started issuing visas as of 1 September when the country opened its airspace and landing at Hosea Kutako International Airport as part of it tourism revival initiative aimed at resuscitating the ailing sector.

"Immediately an announcement was made that come 1 September we will open for tourists. We already directed our missions abroad to start issuing visas," she said.

Responding to a query about improving the speed of obtaining a visa, Nandi-Ndaitwah said all efforts are being made to hasten the process.

"The visas particularly where we have our missions, I cannot really say they are slow, but maybe they are. However, all efforts are being made to speed up these visas.

"We are also in discussions, and I think we have finalised with the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration, that we are introducing electronic visa applications," she said.

The minister detailed that the relevant ministries are working on improving the visa application process especially for business people.

"For the business people, we are looking at giving them long term visas, particularly when you realise the person is a really serious business person and you don't want that person to be in a queue all the time looking for a visa. All those are strategies to attract business," she said.

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