Namibian Visa Requirements Hurting Business There
May 23, 2016 Leave a comment
International travel can be difficult, requiring lots of extra effort to obtain passports, visas, and the like. This is especially frustrating when that travel is business related and, unlike a vacation, might have to happen on the spur of the moment or even culminate in a board meeting that lasts only a few hours.
For residents of South Africa doing business in neighboring Namibia, this is a recent cause for some concern. The two nations have close economic ties, with South African companies having a large stake in Namibia, and contributing a lot to the latter country’s economy. A lot of those companies have subsidiaries there, or close connections with Namibian companies.
All of this means people have to cross the border for meetings and the like pretty often, and going to South Africa is easy, as travellers can get a business visa when they arrive so they can get on with their jobs. But going the other way is a lot harder, as currently, Namibia is requiring South Africans to get business visas from the Namibian High Commission in Pretoria (the capital of South Africa), before they cross the border. That may not sound like that big of a deal, but it requires an extra trip, more planning, and makes spur of the moment deals or meetings much harder to coordinate.
According to Tarah Shaanika, CEO of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, this ruling has already started to negatively affect Namibia’s economy. He says it’s bad for fostering regional economic integration, something that his home country has been pushing for lately. Presumably, the decision had some sort of internal logic, and the Namibian government is most likely convinced that the visa requirements are somehow useful, but Shaanika and others are convinced they aren’t. They’re petitioning the government to find another way to handle business visas, preferably along the lines of the South African model.