Use of IDs will boost Namibia-Botswana trade

• By Erasmus Shalihaxwe

NAMIBIA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) Chief Executive Officer, Charity Mwiya, has hailed the proposal by Namibia and Botswana to allow citizens of the two countries to use IDs instead of passports when crossing borders into either country.

She told Confidente that the move will boost local businesses.

Mwiya said the agreement is a welcome move because it will result in the fast and smooth movement of people, goods and services.

“Let’s say you have a business partner from Botswana or Namibia and you want to come quickly because you want to discuss something urgently but then you release that your passport is expired, you will have to go through the procedures of acquiring a new passport to be able to travel and this will take time,” Mwiya said.

Mwiya said that it’s very important to make sure that the system that will be used is really efficient and doesn’t leave any room for abuse.

“Abuse of the system would defeat the purpose of the two governments that are trying to accelerate the integration of people,” she added.

According to a trade statistics report availed to Confidente by the Ministry of Trade and Industrialisation Senior Public Relations Officer, Anna Salkeus, Botswana is among the top five of countries to which Namibia exports some of her products.

“Between June 2021 and June2022, Botswana emerged as the main export market for Namibia, absorbing 19.6 percent of all goods exported, ahead of South Africa in the second position with a market share of 18.3 percent of total exports,” the report said

It added that In June 2022, South Africa, India, China, DRC and Saudi Arabia were the major source of imports for Namibia.

Meanwhile, President of Business Botswana and Chairman and Managing Director of Inter Cargo Services {Pty} Ltd in Botswana, Gobusamang Keebine, says the agreement between Namibia and Botswana is positive for business because the movement of people and goods will be eased  at the borders.

“If we are talking about the African Free Trade among African countries, then this is the way to go. It is a welcome gesture and we are feeling positive about it because it will strengthen business cooperation between our two countries,” Keebine said.

During the recent inaugural session of the Namibia-Botswana bi-national commission, President Hage Geingob, said bilateral relations have been further strengthened and the two countries should be proud of their achievements.

The President was speaking in the Botswana capital, Gaborone, where he was accompanied by several cabinet ministers and senior Government officials.

At the same meeting, Botswana President, Mokgweetsi Masisi, said there are a number of areas where notable progress has been registered between the two countries.

These include the relocation of Batswana of Namibian descent, the continued sale of vaccines to Namibia by the Botswana Vaccine Institute, the renewal of the MoU between Botswana Oil Limited and the Namibia National Oil Corporation and the construction of the patrol route and firebreak along the Botswana-Namibia border.