- Seeks better business, developmental partnership with Nigeria
NAMIBIA High Commission, as part of plans to stimulate passenger and cargo services for its carrier,Air Namibia has opened a Visa Processing Office in Lagos State, Nigeria to ease the process of visa procurement for travellers to that country.
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.
Speaking today at the Namibia Business Forum with theme: Namibia is Open For Business, held at the GHI Building Ikeja, Namibian high Commissioner, His Excellency, Humphrey Geiseb said:
“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 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.”
Geiseb said opportunities exists in investment for both local and international markets.
“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,” he said.
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 government.
He said,” 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 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, ‘Its part of our plans to give back.”
” Air Namibia is small enough to care and large enough to get you there. And we are the extremely well-positioned as a gate way into the South African region. We are not vultures, we want to establish a relationship, we want to establish a joint venture. We are not only projecting Nigeria, we are projecting Nigeria too. Our first flight to Nigeria, we had a fully booked aircraft and could not even give tickets to our dignitaries. We were full with people from Southern region and this continued for the next three months.”
Lagos state Commissioner of Tourism, Steve Ayorinde representing the Governor of Lagos state 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.