CROSS-BORDER traders have welcomed the removal of the yellow fever requirement to visit South Africa and Botswana, saying that it will boost business in the Southern African region.
COMESA/SADC Traders Trust chairperson Donald Kachingwe said a good number of business persons had previously suffered harassment for forgetting to carry yellow fever certificates.
Health Minister Joseph Kasonde recently announced that the Government had reached an agreement with both South Africa and Botswana to allow Zambians travel to the two countries without yellow fever certificates.
The development follows scientific studies by the World Health Organisation (WHO) which revealed that Zambia had low Yellow Fever potential exposure status.
In accordance with the WHO International Health Regulations, Yellow Fever Vaccinations were not recommended in such cases, and the ministry informed South Africa and Botswana who have since agreed to waive the requirement.
“This is great news to cross-border traders; we have been waiting for this for a long time,” Mr Kachingwe said in an interview.
“Many cross-borders traders have suffered and lost out on business because of this requirement. Apart from that, these countries were very strict that they would harass you and send you back if you do not have a yellow fever certificate.
He noted that the waiver was also a relief because the traders were made to pay exorbitantly for vaccination in order to obtain the certificate.
Mr Kachingwe commended the Zambian Government for addressing the problem and urged cross-border traders to take advantage of the situation by boosting their businesses.
Tourism Council of Zambia (TCZ) recently expressed happiness that South Africa and Botswana agreed to drop yellow fever certification as a requirement for travellers from Zambia.
TCZ chairperson Felix Mulenga said the decision would significantly increase international tourist arrivals.
South Africa is Zambia’s leading source market for international arrivals, accounting for around 20.1 per cent of total arrivals in 2013.
Times of Zambia