By VICTOR NZE
The southern African country of Namibia has formally opened a Visa Processing Office in Lagos to ease the process of visa procurement for travellers to that country, as well as stimulate passenger and cargo services for its carrier, Air Namibia.
According to the High Commission, the visa processing office in Lagos was opened after enquiries and research that point to the fact that 60% of air travellers above its Air Namibia reside around Lagos and its surrounding environment.
The commission is also seeking better partnership with Nigeria and Lagos in particular for business, education, tourism as well as other areas of mutual benefits for both countries.
Declaring open the office at a ceremony in Lagos, Wednesday, Namibian High Commissioner, Humphrey Geiseb said the decision was informed by the need to ease ‘the burden of having to travel to Abuja before getting a 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.’
Continuing, the envoy said: “The government is seeking to attract foreign investors to participate in public-private partnerships (PPP), particularly in the health, transportation and housing sectors. A law to facilitate PPP was passed in 2017 and implementation is ongoing.
“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.”
Also speaking, Acting General Manager Air Namibia, Mr Wimpe Van Vauren said that the airline has been around for 70 years having metamorphosed from South West Airline and has continued to grow and develop stating that this was made possible with the support of the government.
“We have about 2.4 million population and had 1.6 million tourists in the year 2018, that is over 50% of the population and Air Namibia is playing a significant role, in the connectivity, to promote tourism, travel, cargo, business,” he said.
He stated that since 29 July 2019 when the airline started operations in Nigeria, Namibia has only always given back to Nigeria making sure that all the handlers of the airline are Nigerians, the General Sales Agents are Nigerians, according to Vauren, ‘It is part of our plans to give back.”
Also commenting, Lagos Commissioner of Tourism, Steve Ayorinde representing state Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, welcomed the development but stated that the country officials also needed to look into visa on arrival to boost their figures as well as online visas.
“Visas on arrival is the way to go, that is the way to trust people and to empower people. At the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), it is working for 15/16 West African countries,” he advised.