The Republic of Namibia yesterday deepened bilateral pact with Nigeria with the opening of Namibian Visa Processing desk in Lagos.
The desk, in partnership with Air Namibia, is to facilitate seamless travel processing between West and Southern Africa, while promoting tourism and business opportunities between Lagos and Windhoek, Namibia.
Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, at the opening of the desk at GHI House in Ikeja, welcomed the development, saying connectivity within Africa is the way to go.
Ambode, who was represented by the Commissioner of Tourism, Art and Culture, Steve Ayorinde, said Africans need to move round the continent more freely to fully explore the economic benefits that abound in travel and tourism, filmmaking and entertainment, among others.
Ambode added that improved connectivity is possible with initiatives like visa-on-arrival, which the entire African Union (AU) member countries should embrace.
He said further that while Nigeria learns from Namibia the making of a national carrier and tourism, the venture should be mutually beneficial, to include the marketing of Lagos and Nigeria to the world too.
High Commissioner of Namibia to Nigeria, H.E. Humphrey Geiseb, said the visa processing desk was opened base on research, as over 60 per cent of travellers to Namibia reside in Lagos and surrounding states.
Namibia, with of 2.4 million population, imports a high number of consumer goods and most of its primary resources are exported, largely unprocessed.
Opportunities, according to the envoy, exist to introduce new consumer goods and manufacturing investment for both local and international markets.
Discerning Nigerians, who love to relax and those willing to invest, can take advantage of the many tourist attractions and investment opportunities that abound across the country.
“Namibia won the Readers Award 2019 as the world’s leading tourist destination. Namibia is a major tourist destination in Africa with tourism accounting for over $500 million contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“Our decision, therefore, to open a visa processing centre in Lagos, in partnership with Air Namibia, is a strategic move aimed at easing the burden of having to travel to Abuja before getting visa, thereby, further boosting diplomatic ties and trade between Nigeria and Namibia and offering choices and easy access to our highly esteemed visitors and would-be investors,” Geiseb said.
He added that in an effort to maintain the highest standards of professionalism and protect the integrity of the High Commission, a team of highly professional staff had been trained extensively and charged with the responsibility of offering the same level of visa processing services as done at the Embassy in Abuja, “while also doing our level best to ensure that visas are processed within a reasonable period.”
Since Air Namibia opened its Lagos- Windhoek operation in June 2018, no fewer than 700 visas had been issued for both tourists and business travellers. Namibia has welcomed over 1.6 million tourists to date.