Nigeria and South Africa are two top economies in Africa and since the later gained independence in 1994, there have been growing business partnership between the two countries.
For example, South Africa Airways launched operation to Nigeria on December 4, 1998, that was four years after it became free from apartheid.
But recently Nigerians have been piqued by the seemingly unceasing xenophobia, which seemed to have defied government’s control, as many blacks from other African nations including Nigeria are killed in brutal and animistic manner.
However, considering the level of hostility South Africans have shown to Nigerians in their country, Namibia seems set to woo Nigerian businesses and tourists.
Specifically, Namibia came to Nigeria to showcase its tourism, investment and other potential and beckoned to Nigerians to visit the country as tourists, businessmen and as students.
In population Namibia is about 2.4 million people but it has land near as big as Nigeria. Namibia said it has a lot of tourism sites, especially game reserves and other natural endowments. But it can in no way be compared to South Africa, which has almost fully blossomed in population and in development with multi-business opportunities and countless tourism destinations. But in Namibia, blacks will be safe to visit.
To encourage Nigerians to visit, Namibia last year connected flight to Lagos from its capital, Windhoek. The national carrier, Air Namibia now operates three times a week between Nigeria and the South African country and to further encourage Nigerians to travel, Namibia opened visa office in Lagos, Nigeria’s business hub.
Currently about 4000 Nigerians live in Namibia and last year over 700 Nigerians travelled to Namibia.
It was to encourage more Nigerians to travel that on Monday the Namibian High Commission in Nigeria, commissioned a visa processing office in Lagos, with a view to reducing to the barest minimum, the inconveniences being experienced while trying to get visa from its office in Abuja.
Speaking at an event to showcase the tourism potential of Namibia and the strength of its airline, Air Namibia, Namibian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Humphaey Geiseb, said based on enquiries and research, the country decided to open a visa processing office in Lagos in partnership with Air Namibia since over 60 percent of people travelling to Namibia reside in Lagos.
He said Namibia enjoys one of the most stable, peaceful political environments in Africa.
“Namibia is a major tourists’ attraction in Africa with tourism accounting for over $500 million, contributing significantly to the Gross Domestic Product (DGP) of the country. 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 visitors”, he said.
Earlier, the acting General Manager, Commercial Services, Air Namibia, Mr. Wimpie Van Vuuren, said the airline began flight operations into Nigeria in 2018 but has been in existence for 70 years.
Van Vuuren added that Air Namibia employs only Nigerians for its Nigerian operations, adding, “We are confident that Nigerians are capable of doing the job, we are also marketing Nigeria, we want to establish a good mutual relationship with Nigeria, we are here to work with Nigerians, Namibia is a big attraction for tourists, we want to promote tourism and establish connections with other worlds”, he said.
Speaking on why Namibia is the best place for tourists, Geiseb, the High Commissioner, who disclosed that 700 visas were issued to Nigerians in 2018, added that primary infrastructure in Namibia are well developed, saying that the World Economic Forum ranks Namibia as the country with highest quality roads in Africa.
“Tourism is one of the country’s fastest growing industries and provides significant employment opportunities, Namibia is a nature based tourism destination with spectacular scenery, including a wide variety of wild life, the world’s oldest desert, the world’s tallest sand dunes and community based nature conservations,” he said.
Also speaking, Lagos State governor, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode, represented by Commissioner for Tourism, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, hailed the move by the High Commission to unveil visa processing desk in Lagos, adding that many African countries have faced the challenge of the inability to issue visas seamlessly, noting that it is the way to go to encourage people of other countries to visit.