Business visa scrapped
This will be done on a reciprocal basis since Zambia does not charge anything for Namibians travelling to that country to do various kinds of business. The move is also aimed at boosting trade between the two countries and ease the movement of people into either country. Zambian High Commissioner to Namibia, Griffin Nyirongo, said the issue of visa requirements by the Namibian government on Zambians wishing to enter the country, had been a major impendiment to the promotion of enhanced trade between Zambia and Namibia. “It is heartening to note that the Namibian authorities announced last week that with effect from the end of June, they will remove the business visa on a reciprocal basis,” Nyirongo said. He said since Zambia did not charge Namibians entering that country, it was also imperative that Namibian authorities did likewise. Nyirongo stated that the removal of business visa requirements on Zambians entering Namibia was an addition to other measures taken in the past to facilitate the movement of people between Zambia and Namibia. The introduction of the border pass to facilitate the movement of the people living within the vicinity of the border was one such case in point. Nyirongo also said the construction of the Katima Mulilo bridge which was commissioned by Zambian President, Levy Mwanawasa and former Namibian President Sam Nujoma in 2004, greatly contributed to the growing trade flows between the two countries. Because of the completion of the Katima Mulilo bridge, the export quantity increased from 26,336,171 kilograms in 2004 to 42,721,427 kilogrammes in 2005. The quantity of goods imported from Namibia into Zambia has also risen from 17,375,088kg in 2004 to 18,067,184kg in 2005. Zambia’s major exports to Namibia include maize, cotton seeds, sugar, electric energy, semi-precious stones, parts and accessories, cereal flour, wood, cane molasses and mixing (kneading) machinery. Namibia’s exports to Zambia are such as mackerel fish, vegetable fats and oils, mineral water and aerated drinks, beer, salt, fuel oils and fans. Others are mounding patterns, reproduction apparatus, magnetic tapes, colour video monitors, motor vehicles and powdered milk. However, Nyirongo said the increase in trade between Zambia and Namibia could have been significant if the two countries had a bilateral trade agreement. The two countries have failed to conclude a preferential trade agreement primarily due to Namibia’s membership to the Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU). This has made it difficult for the two countries to establish a preferential trade agreement because such a development between Zambia and Namibia would need the consent of all SACU member states. Nevertheless, the two countries have agreed to establish a Trade and Investment Committee as an alternative arrangement to promote trade. Nyirongo stated further that Zambia and Namibia have signed a number of trade and cooperation agreements, with major ones being the Trade Agreement of 1995, Bilateral Air Services Agreement and the Cooperation Agreement in the Administration of Justice (secondment of legal officers.) Others are the Electricity/Tolling Agreement, the Agreement on the construction of the Sesheke Bridge and the rehabilitation of Livingstone/Katima road and the Joint Agricultural Venture.