In an attempt to attract more investment to the country, government will soon introduce electronic visa applications, and plans are afoot to grant businesspeople long-term visas.
International relations minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah last week said her ministry, in consultation with home affairs, has finalised plans to introduce electronic visas.
“When you realise the person is a serious long-term business person, you don’t want them to be in long queues looking for visas,” she noted. There have been concerns raised that the rate at which Namibia is issuing visas is slow and it negatively affects investors or business people wishing to visit the country.
“The visas, particularly where we have our missions, I cannot really say they are slow… maybe they are, but all efforts are made to speed up these visas. An announcement was made that come 1 September 2020, we will open our border for tourists. We have already directed our missions abroad to start issuing visas,” she said. Justice minister Yvonne Dausab says although the borders are opened locally and internationally, the health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula still has the prerogative to direct how the movement of people will be regulated to suppress the further spread of Covid-19.
Following the expiry of the state of emergency, the Covid-19 response will be implemented through new directives to be issued by the Minister of Health and Social Services in terms of the provisions of the Public and Environmental Act, 2015 (Act No. 1 of 2015) and any other relevant legislation, or by other public office bearers responsible for the administration of other relevant legislation. Namibian airspace opened as of Friday via Hosea Kutako International Airport and Walvis Bay Airport. For the past six months, land borders were only opened for essential trade in accordance with the SADC guidelines of movement of goods during Covid-19.
Nandi-Ndaitwah said to open land borders fully, such an exercise has to be done bilaterally. “It doesn’t help to open your borders while other countries’ borders are closed. South Africa opened its borders as of Monday [yesterday]. There is direct contact between the ministries of home affairs who are responsible for immigration,” she stated.