Botswana: Yesterday, Friday, 24th February 2023, history was made as Botswana and Namibia signed a historic Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) that will see the citizens of both countries using only their national identity documents to cross their borders.
Speaking shortly after the signing of the MoA, Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi said the people of Botswana and Namibia enjoy excellent relations, underpinned by common values, socio-economic and cultural ties, as well as shared histories dating back from time immemorial.
“It is, therefore, highly symbolic that we are meeting at the gateway of our flagship highway, the Trans-Kalahari Corridor, which connects our counties, to mark a significant milestone in the trajectory of our relations,” Dr Masisi said.
Dr Masisi further said the Agreement would ease the movement of people and goods between Botswana and Namibia, which he said was great for the two countries’ bilateral relations.
Dr Masisi said digitalization played a major role in the achievement of the Agreement and thus encouraged both countries to continue harnessing the benefits of advanced technologies of the 4th Industrial Revolution to modernize their Information and Technology (IT) systems.
The President revealed that plans are underway to transform the National Identity Card (Omang) into an electronic identity card. For his part, His Excellency Dr Hage G. Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia, said he was pleased that the dream that started a few years ago had finally been achieved.
“Over the years, we have sought, at the highest level of leadership, to look beyond any external accidents that may occur between Batswana and Namibians, with the understanding that through our shared history, we possess inner qualities that not only make us humans but brothers and sisters,” he said.
President Geingob added that the two sister countries had taken the first steps towards the realization of the SADC Protocol on facilitating movements of persons. He said such steps could inspire other African States to attain continental integration and realize the demands of Africa Agenda 2063.
Botswana and Namibia share a thousand five hundred and forty four (1544) kilometres of land border. Mamuno Border gate post is the first to use ID cards, and it will be followed in due course by Kasane, Mohembo, Ngoma and Dobe border posts.
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