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Southern African countries plan to expand special tourist visa

Livingston, Reuters!

Five Southern African countries committed to expanding the use of a special common visa to allow easier movement of tourists as the region seeks to boost arrivals.

Officials from Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, countries that make up the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area, pledged in principle to broaden use of the special visa, called a univisa, which allows entry into multiple countries.

The univisa is currently used in Zambia and Zimbabwe and covers day trips to Botswana through Kazungula.

Regional leaders attending a KAZA heads of state summit in Livingstone, Zambia, said they want the special visa extended to other states in the conservation area as well as the southern African economic bloc.

“We must simply say that this will happen,” Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema said in his address. I am grateful that my colleagues have reached consensus on the univisa.”

Botswana Vice President Slumber Tsogwane said his country would fully adopt the univisa.

KAZA member states also resolved to urge the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora to lift a ban on the trade of elephants and ivory.

The 184-member inter-governmental CITES regulates wildlife trade to protect certain species from over-exploitation. It banned trade in African elephant ivory in 1989 after the animal’s population had declined sharply in the previous decade.

KAZA states say they hold US$1 billion worth of ivory stockpiles, which they want to trade to fund conservation programmes.

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