In line with the Namibian government’s policy for Namibia to become a logistics hub in southern Africa, the governments of the Republic of Namibia and the Republic of Botswana have launched the 24/7 operations for a seamless flow of goods and people at the Trans-Kalahari/Mamuno border posts in Namibia’s Omaheke region. This historic agreement, effective from1 April 2023, was signed by the Minister of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security of Namibia, Dr. Albert Kawana, and the Minister of Finance, Peggy Onkullwile Serame of Botswana. 

“The strategic location of the Trans-Kalahari/ Mamuno border posts allows the two countries to promote trade relations. At the same time, costs to the business community will be reduced because of sharing facilities”, said Minister Kawana. In addition, the ministry expects that the Port of Walvis Bay, rated by international institutions as one of the most efficient ports on the west coast of Africa, stands to benefit from this development. “I believe that the move will have tremendous economic benefit to both countries”, Kawana added. 



The latest trade statistics from the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) showed a trade surplus with Botswana to the amount of N$1.2 billion. In February 2023 Namibia’s top five export markets accounted for 65 percent of total exports. South Africa maintained first position as Namibia’s export destination with a share of 17.7 percent, Botswana came second with 15.3 percent and China third with 13.3 percent. Belgium and Zambia came in fourth and fifth positions with 10 and 8.7 percent respectively. The NSA statistics also show that precious stones, diamonds in particular, were Namibia’s largest export commodity during February 2023, accounting for 24.7 percent of total exports and predominantly shipped to Botswana, Belgium and the United Arab Emirates. 


On average, imports to the value of P15 billion are processed annually at the Mamuno border post. On average, 8800 commercial trucks carry cargo across the border per month. “Based on these statistics, the Trans-Kalahari/ Mamuno border posts are critical to facilitate the timely importation of raw materials and machinery necessary to stimulate industrial growth in the economies of our two countries”, said Botswana’s Minister of Finance, Peggy Onkullwile Serame. She underlined that since the trade corridor serves as a gateway to and from international markets, initiatives such as keeping the border posts open 24-hours will give it a competitive advantage and make it a corridor of choice in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. 


Along with the extended border operations, the two countries further signed an agreement that allows nationals of the two countries to use their respective national identity cards for crossborder travel. A total number of 214 Namibians and 525 Batswana was recorded between 24 February and 27 March 2023. In addition, the agreement allows for foreign nationals to apply for employment permits or work visas for a period of up to six months. 


The only changes on Namibia’s new ID are that the fingerprint and the barcode on the reverse side of the card are replaced by a Quick Response Code (QRC) and a Machine-Readable Zone (MRZ). These features are in line with international best practice recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organisation. The New Look ID Cards can be obtained from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security in all 14 regions. 

Maggie Forcelledo Paz