Angolan and Zambian citizens no longer need visas to travel between the two countries after the visa waiver came to effect on Thursday.
“We have abolished visa requirements for diplomatic, official and ordinary passport holders in the two countries,” Angola’s ambassador to Zambia, Balbina da Silva, told journalists in Lusaka.
Citizens of the two neighbouring countries can travel without a visa restrictions for a period of 30 days, said the envoy.
However, to reside, work, study or seek medical care in any of the countries, the citizens will need to apply for a permit.
The agreement was signed in January when Angolan President Joao Lourenco held bilateral talks with his counterpart Edgar Lungu in Zambia.
The two countries also agreed to build a common railway line and a refinery near the border to process crude oil imports from Angola.
Zambia recently smoothed its relations with her western neighbour after they were rattled under the Fredrick Chiluba regime over his controversial support for Jonas Savimbi.
Dr Savimbi was the founding leader of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (Unita), which fought a 27-year civil war with the Angolan government. Unita is now the main opposition party in Angola.
The controversial but charismatic leader was killed in battle against the ruling MPLA government forces on February 22, 2002 in Lucusse region.
His death paved the way for a peace deal that would bring an end to one of Africa’s longest and bloodiest civil conflicts, which erupted after independence from Portugal in 1975.
The war left at least half a million people dead and some four million civilians displaced in the oil-rich nation.
Angola and Zambia share a border of more than 1000 kilometers. This poses a challenge to the authorities of both countries to provide infrastructures that increase the movement of people and goods.
The two governments are committed to the increasing cross-border trade, apart from
the trade between the two states in various fields.
The annual balance of business between the countries stands at around USD 20 million.
Zambia imports from Angola sea products, lubricants and construction materials, while Zambian exports are based on field produce, seeds and beef.
The visa suppression agreement is expected to benefit approximately 25,000 Angolans who live in that country. Many of whom have not been in touch with their families for several years.