File:Delegates at the COMESA Council of Ministers conference in Lusaka
File:Delegates at the COMESA Council of Ministers conference in Lusaka

The Government of the Republic of Zambia has issued a circular waiving Visas and visa fees for all COMESA nationals on official business. Three other COMESA countries namely: Mauritius, Rwanda and Seychelles have also waived visas to all COMESA citizens.

This has been welcomed as progressive and paves the way for the implementation of the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, Services, labour and Rights of Establishment and Residence in the region.

So far four countries (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda and Zimbabwe) out of the nineteen have signed the protocol of free movement of persons. Only Burundi has fully ratified.

“Although, we have not recorded new signatures and ratifications, a number of Member States have showed their strong commitment and promised to speed-up the process of signing and ratifying the protocol. The Government of the Republic of Zambia has sent an official letter which stated that the Protocol will soon be signed,’’ Immigration Officer at COMESA Secretariat Mr Houssein Guedi Absieh revealed in an interview.

Kenya and Rwanda are firm believers in regional integration, as one of the key solutions to attain development. The two countries are already fully complying with the COMESA Protocol on the Gradual Relaxation of visas and are applying most of the provisions of the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, Services, Labour and Right of Establishment which has not yet entered into force. The two countries have promised to ratify the Protocol.

In 2012, the Fifth Meeting of COMESA Ministers Responsible for immigration took a decision that the Secretariat should play a proactive role in engaging in direct consultations with Member States towards implementation of the Protocol on free movement.

In view of this, the Immigration Unit at COMESA Secretariat obtained funding amounting to USD70,000 from the African Development Bank (AfDB) for a Task Force to conduct direct consultations with eight selected countries (Comoros, Djibouti, Kenya Malawi, Rwanda, Seychelles, Uganda and Swaziland). The Task Force undertook the said consultative mission between October and November 2013 and met with target Authorities with particular emphasis on Parliamentarians, Civil Societies, Ministries of Home Affairs, Immigration Department, Coordinating Ministries and Law Associations of each country.

Apart from raising awareness, the campaign aims at promoting the signing and ratifying the Protocol on Free Movement of Person, Service, Labour and Rights of Establishment and Residence as well as the full implementation of the Protocol on Gradual Relaxation of Visa Requirements.

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18 COMMENTS

  1. Ludicrous decision
    Give up on revenue from Visas and increase illegal migrants,

    Bring the rainbow Party before its too late.

    Thanks
    Bb2014

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    • This is a BAD decision. I think don’t a comparison of the benefits that accrue to Zambia through its membership to Comesa justify risking the security of the country through El Shabaab insurgents

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    • he issues will be from from some stable countries coming to Zambia in masses, the outcome cannot be predicted, however, it will not be positive.

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    • Only on those who traveling on official business and not every Jim and Jack! Can you please read the article again.

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    • These doors are wide open for diseases such as AIDS,Ebola & other contagious ones. Mwapya muzafa monga nkuku.

      Meanwhile GBM is been fired from PF, that’s the latest whilst Lsk divisions are still sleeping!

      The Skeleton Key
      ~206~

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    • This is coming soonest, just for you to know is that, you can buy a visa ‘ KAZA UNIVISA’ on point of entry for example, you are American and coming into Zambia at KKIA, you can buy one for the countries eg, Zim, Bots, Nam and this will allow you to get into these countries without buying any visa for both entry or exist! standard fee for the UNIVISA is Usd 50.00

      From your friends in Livingstone 2015

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  2. Good move though it has its own consequences. Step up interpol as well as sharpen the judicial system. Any country that opens itself so wide need to be ready for eventualities too. A good example to learn from is the EU and EEA.

    Let business flow and pray that who ever comes to trade in our country needs to follow our peaceful commandments of the land.

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  3. Its a very good and commendable decision by the govt. Free movement of people, trade, commerce and skills in regional integration efforts has to be commended. I wish the entire African continent could abolish visas and work permit requirements for Africans. anyone can just up and leave and get a job in Nigeria without being asked questions. or anyone in Algeria can just up and travel to Botswana and apply his/her skills that may be in need in Botswana without being asked questions. That will signal a start to real discussions on poverty alleviation and resource utilization across the continent.

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  4. It’s good.. Tentatively said.

    We need to create a positive environment for business. It implies good immigration management.

    Zambia is good at catching illegals and quickly deporting. In the past Dawn raids have yielded good results.

    I don’t think wholesale open visas are good. Nigeria and other countries of ill repute should be controlled strictly.

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  5. We can still trade freely with visas. On this one I think the Sata government has shot wide. With crazy insurgents in Africa, lax travel is the last thing one needs. President Lungu rethink this one and let Zambians learn enterprise. I disagree here wholely.

    Viva President Nawakwi.

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  6. Nice move at least we can easily move and bring development to Zambia.

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  7. Please let us learn to understand stories and comment in the right context! Is Nigeria a member of COMESA for people to get worried by illegals from Nigeria? We still have illegals from both countries where we have visa or non visa requirements. What we need is an alert,disciplined and well equipped Police and Immigration Departments and other security agencies to track and bring to book those who overstay or are engaged in illegal activities. Regional integration is for ordinary people and not politicians only! Free movement especially with our neighbors will promote trade and common understanding.Government should work hard to remove visa restrictions with Angola and Mozambique our non COMESA neighbors so that trade can grow for our people.

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  8. Visas visas! Progressive Africans need to know our borders should be temporary. These are things we inherited from colonisers that we want to cling to as if we made them. It is actually stoopid the way we have started seeing ourselves inside the divisions someone made for us, as being different from other people enclosed in these very artificial enclaves. We should be working towards redrawing these borders to form a mighty union. And doing away with visas is one small step for Zambia but a giant leap for Africa.

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  9. come on people lets been honest do you really think drug dealers or terrorist would have even applied for visa in the first place they would just enter the country illegally…….also this is only for people doing official business as someone pointed out earlier

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  10. Don’t comment without reading. The waiver is only for Country to Country on OFFICIAL BUSINESS. Like Kikwete and entourage should not pay when they visit Zambia and vise vesa

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