NAMIBIAN President Hage Geingob yesterday urged Southern African Development Community (Sadc) nations to abolish visas to promote trade and boost regional economic integration.
By MTHANDAZO NYONI/NQOBANI NDLOVU
Geingob, who was addressing guests during the official opening of the 58th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo, said visas were a barrier to regional economic growth.
“It must be noted that no country will ever be able to address industrialisation on its own. We must, therefore, embrace regional economic development breaking down barriers within Sadc and Africa.
“We need to break barriers to the movement of goods in Africa. In Namibia, we have scrapped visa for all Africans holding official diplomatic passports. Ordinary visitors get their visas on arrival at the airport. Eventually, it will be abolished completely,” Geingob said.
President Robert Mugabe, as Sadc and African Union chairperson, emphasised on regional integration, value addition and beneficiation as an integral African industrialisation policy to eradicate poverty and create employment.
This year’s annual trade showcase — which ends today — was held under the theme Harnessing Linkages for Industrial Development.
Geingob also urged local businesses to come and invest in his country, describing Namibia as a destination of choice for investors.
“Namibia is making efforts to eradicate barriers in conducting business in that country. Furthermore, we have also adopted plans on ease of doing business to make it simpler to open businesses in that country,” he said.
Geingob, who arrived in the country on Wednesday, was welcomed at Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport by Mugabe, First Lady Grace, Vice-Presidents Phelekezela Mphoko and Emmerson Mnangagwa, ministers and several government officials.
Fourteen countries exhibited at the ZITF, down from last year’s 19. Some of the countries that were exhibiting include Botswana, China, Ethiopia, Germany, Iran, Japan, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Turkey.