Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa has applauded the decision taken by Botswana and Namibia to allow people to move freely between the two countries.
Responding to the news on Friday, Chagutah said: “In a region where irregular migrants have repeatedly been criminalized, this accord will not only reduce barriers to migration.”
State officials from the Republics of Botswana and Namibia met on Friday at Mamuno/Trans-Kalahari Border Post to sign a Memorandum of Agreement permitting the usage of National Identification Cards for cross border travel.
“This agreement, which marks the first of its kind in Southern Africa, is a step in the right direction. [It] will not only reduce barriers to migration but also increase trade, offering a much-needed economic boost to each country and their people.
“This is a much-needed development for informal cross-border traders, especially women. This would hopefully facilitate their work which is crucial in alleviating poverty and food security in these countries.
“In the implementation of this agreement, we urge both Botswana and Namibia to take into consideration the needs of women traders who cross the border between the two countries on a regular basis,” Chagutah added.
He also encouraged other nations of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to follow suit and commit to allowing free movement of people. The Amnesty International’s Director believes that doing so could unlock the massive socio-economic potential of the region.
“Allowing the free movement of people, goods and services between states in the region is essential for boosting trade and offering greater access to job opportunities.
“By encouraging greater integration through free movement, the SADC can help to address poverty and inequality by providing greater economic and social mobility to its citizens,” he emphasized.
USE OF NATIONAL IDENTITY CARD AS A TRAVEL DOCUMENT BETWEEN BOTSWANA AND NAMIBIA
Citizens of each country holding valid National Identity Cards, may enter and stay for a period not exceeding thirty (30) days at any given time, but not exceeding ninety (90) days in a year. pic.twitter.com/Li0QK0889u
— Botswana Government (@BWGovernment) February 22, 2023