The President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa has announced the implementation of passport-free travel between Zimbabwe and Botswana. This decision is expected to facilitate smoother travel and strengthen the relationship between the two nations. He expressed optimism about this development, emphasizing its potential to foster stronger connections and regional unity.

By Staff Reporter

Zimbabwe’s President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has announced that his country is currently in discussions with Botswana to establish a passport-free travel agreement between the two nations. 

The terms of the agreement, according to Mnangagwa, will be hammer out by officials from both countries.

The primary objective of this endeavour is to facilitate and simplify travel and trade for the citizens of both countries.

He was addressing a presidential panel at the 5th Kusi Ideas Festival in Botswana, emphasising the festival’s role as a marketplace for innovative ideas. The event focuses on the challenges Africa must overcome to secure its future.

Mnangagwa announced that he and President Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana had reached an agreement to initiate the process of phasing out passports.

“I have been talking to my brother here after he was making a statement here and we have agreed, I can announce, that from now on we shall instruct our officials that there shall be no question of how to enter Zimbabwe, how to enter Botswana,” Mnangagwa said to loud cheers.

Mnangagwa continued to address the gathering, stating: “That should be cleared. The two of us have agreed, realising that we are Africans. We should be able to walk into Botswana, walk into Zambia and walk into Kenya. We agreed when we were sitting there that why should we restrict ourselves?

“Somebody said in the past we were all living together, then the global north came and made boundaries, where the family’s kitchen became on the other side of the border, the bedroom on the other side of the border. So why should we continue to respect this? Let us open the borders among ourselves and move freely.”

Earlier this year, Masisi and Namibian president Hage Geingob signed a Memorandum of Understanding allowing citizens of both countries to use their identification cards for border crossings. Masisi also mentioned the possibility of creating similar agreements with other neighbouring countries that share borders with Botswana.

Many Zimbabweans travel to Botswana in search of job opportunities or for business reasons. The exact number of Zimbabweans living in Botswana without proper authorization is uncertain, but a government report from 2022 suggests that around 47,000 Zimbabweans have migrated to Botswana over the past ten years.

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