Simplified border controls: Namibia and Botswana lead the way

Issue 4 2023 Government and Parastatal (Industry)

In a landmark project, Namibia and Botswana recently simplified their mutual border controls. Citizens of both nations now enjoy the convenience of crossing the border with just their ID cards, rendering the once mandatory passports and stamps obsolete for this purpose.

Marc-Julian Siewert

To enable this simplification, the two countries aligned their systems and documents with the help of Veridos' solutions. A QR code and a machine-readable zone were added to Namibia's ID cards, while Botswana's border control system was adapted to read these ID cards without any problems. The undertaking was not very complex from a technological point of view, but the consequences for both sides are significant.

The mutual recognition of ID cards by Namibia and Botswana has the potential to act as a role model and initiate similar agreements between other countries, according to Veridos. This is because the parties involved can benefit in many ways from the simplification of border controls:

1. Trade and commerce. The time and cost required for the cross-border movement of goods and services is reduced. All citizens, but especially people in the border regions take advantage of the easier travel conditions to make purchases in the other country. This boosts trade and commerce on both sides, ultimately leading to more economic growth and prosperity.

2. Tourism. With the facilitation of cross-border travel, the number of foreign visitors will also increase. This not only leads to new revenue streams in the country, but can also create new jobs in the tourism and catering industries.

3. Culture and science. The exchange of culture, art, science and education is also promoted. The understanding for each other and the mutual appreciation of the societies increase, they cooperate more effectively and in greater harmony.

"Smoother border controls promote the economy and culture of the countries involved," explains Marc-Julian Siewert, CEO of Veridos. "That's why we are committed to making travel easier and safer with our technologies and expertise. Modern border control systems represent a pivotal and strategic investment in the future of nations across the globe, safeguarding sovereignty, security, and efficient exchange in the face of global challenges."

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