Abolish visa requirement for Africans: Geingob

25 Jul 2016 16:10pm
WINDHOEK, 25 JUL (NAMPA) – Namibia will eventually abolish visa requirements for all Africans who wish to come to Namibia, President Hage Geingob said on Monday at the opening of a five-day conference to review Namibia’s Foreign Policy.
The conference aims to analyse the impact of global changes on Namibia’s domestic and international policies; reflect the new and emerging issues; and identify strategic priorities of international relations and cooperation.
“As Pan-Africanists, it goes without saying that African brothers and sisters will always be welcome in Namibia. We are committed to extend this privilege to all African passport holders by initially issuing visas on arrival and eventually abolishing visa requirements,” he said.
The Namibian Head of State’s comment comes after Cabinet decided to abolish visa requirements into Namibia for diplomatic and official African passport holders like Government ministers and other high-ranking officials.
In line with the Harambee Prosperity Plan and African unity, Cabinet took decision in May 2016 to exempt all visa requirements into Namibia for Africans who are holders of diplomatic or official passports with immediate effect. At the moment, Namibia only allows visa-free entry to passport holders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) states.
Cabinet said at the time that Namibia should not overlook her relationship and history with other African states.
“African nations offered refuge to our people as they fled the brutality of the apartheid system. Many of our young people found shelter in fellow African countries enabling them to continue with their education, which would equip them with knowledge and skills needed to contribute to the development of our country,” read the Cabinet statement.
Thus, Geingob noted that reviews of international relations and cooperation policies should be embedded with the doctrine of Pan-Africanism as espoused by some of the great founding Pan-Africanist philosophers such as Sylvester Williams, Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, Julius Nyerere and Sam Nujoma.
He said the policy review should also take into consideration what is called ‘New Africa’, meaning coups d’états are no longer tolerated on a continent where leaders retire in dignity and an Africa that reflects its true narrative.
“The New Africa is the Africa we want as espoused in Agenda 2063 of the African Union,” he said.
Agenda 2063 is a global strategy to optimise the use of Africa's resources for the benefits of all Africans. It covers how the continent should effectively learn from lessons of the past, build on the progress now underway and strategically exploit all possible opportunities available in the short, medium and long term, so as to ensure positive socio-economic transformation within the next 50 years.
The conference ends Friday.