GABORONE, Botswana – Namibia and Botswana are lifting passport requirements on their border, in a first for southern Africa.
Namibian president Hage Geingob, speaking in the Botswana capital Gaborone on Friday, said nationals of the two countries would only need to produce IDs to move between the two countries.
The new Namibia and Botswana passport requirements between the two countries are part of ways to improve cooperation.
“Our two countries not only share a common border, but also a common people and heritage. A symbiotic and inter-dependent relationship exists along our common borders,” Geingob said, speaking during the inaugural Botswana-Namibia bi-national commission.
“Therefore, I call on our senior officials to fast-track the implementation of the usage of Identity Documents (IDs) as travel documents between the two countries, without delay.”
Countries in the SADC bloc lifted visa requirements, but the Botswana-Namibia deal to allow nationals of the two countries to move freely across borders is without precedent.
The inaugural Botswana and Namibia Bi-National Commission (BNC) got under way in Gaborone on Monday and will culminate in a meeting between the countries’ heads of state.
In a statement, the foreign affairs ministry of Botswana said senior government officials from the two countries were meeting on Monday and Tuesday.
On Wednesday, ministers from the two countries will have a session that will foreground the heads of state meeting on Friday.
Last year, Namibia and Botswana agreed to upgrade their cooperation from bilateral frameworks such as the Joint Permanent Commission of Cooperation (JPCC) and the Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security (JPCDS).