Zimbabwe, Botswana leaders agree on passport-free travel for citizens

Botswana-Namibia visa-free travel already in place
2023-12-09
/
/ New Delhi
Digital nomad visas
Zimbabwe, Botswana leaders agree on passport-free travel for citizens

An increasing number of African countries are now opening up their borders for citizens of their neighbours or all Africans

Growing momentum for visa-free travel for Africans in Africa as leaders of Zimbabwe and Botswana agree to launch negotiations for an agreement.
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An increasing number of African countries are now opening up their borders for citizens of their neighbours or all Africans as part of an ambitious project to make visa-free travel possible across Africa, on the lines of the Schenegen Agreement which allows for visa-free travel between 25 European nations.

Emmerson Mnangagwa

Emmerson Mnangagwa

Now, Zimbabwe and Botswana are set to launch negotiations for an agreement to allow visa-free travel for their citizens. Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said he had “agreed” with his Botswana counterpart President Mokgweetsi Masisi to open up their borders for passport-free travel by their citizens.

Mnangagwa said the terms of the agreement will be be hammered out by officials from both countries.

“I have been talking to my brother here (Masisi) after he was making a statement here and we have agreed, I can announce, that from now on we shall instruct our officials that there shall be no question of how to enter Zimbabwe, how to enter Botswana,” Mnangagwa said to cheers during the fifth edition of the annual Kusi Ideas Festival in Gaborone, capital of Botswana.

“That should be cleared. The two of us have agreed, realising that we are Africans. We should be able to walk into Botswana, walk into Zambia and walk into Kenya. We agreed when we were sitting there that why should we restrict ourselves? Somebody said in the past we were all living together, then the global north came and made boundaries, where the family’s kitchen became on the other side of the border, the bedroom on the other side of the border. So why should we continue to respect this? Let us open the borders among ourselves and move freely,” Mnangagwa added.

While Botswana, with a population of 2.5 million, is one of Africa’s richest and most stable countries with a GDP of USD 17.61 billion in 2021, according to the World Bank, Zimbabwe has lurched from political crisis to economic crisis over the last two decades.

Like other prosperous regional countries including South Africa, Botswana is already hosting a sizeable Zimbabwean migrant community and deports thousands of Zimbabweans annually for immigration offences.

Botswana already inked a similar arrangement with Namibia. Starting on February 24, 2023, Namibia and Botswana have begun to accept each other’s national identity cards for use in cross-border business and tourism travel for stays of up to 90 days. Nationals of each country can present this card to enter the other country without a passport.

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