Lack of funding stalls Sadc Uni-visa

HARARE - The Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc), Uni-visa pilot programme has been slowed down due to lack of funding, Zimbabwe’s foreign affairs ministry has revealed.

Sadc expedited a common visa to be used for all 15 regional member states as a way to boost tourism last year, but the programme has suffered because of the financial challenges currently facing its member states.

“Sadc resolved to conduct a pilot programme, which Zimbabwe is part of. We identified two embassies which were going to be part of the pilot programme but progress has been slowed because of funding,” permanent secretary of Foreign Affairs, Joey Bimha said.

However, under consideration is the need to implement security systems to fight against cross-border crime, illegal migration and terrorism.

The South African government last week however, said the pilot system was at an advanced stage.

About 50 percent of Sadc members do not require visas for tourists from key source markets.

The Uni-visa has presented an opportunity to enrich the region’s comparative advantages, which reflects Sadc’s determination and willingness to actively position the tourism sector as one of the key economic drivers, thereby increasing tourism contribution to the region’s gross domestic product.

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