Building capacity to help Africa trade better

SA, Namibia seek improved intra-African trade


SA, Namibia seek improved intra-African trade

SA, Namibia seek improved intra-African trade
Photo credit: Rodger Bosch | MediaClub South Africa

Intra-African trade must become the new economic paradigm for the continent, as it will help stimulate economic growth and improve the continent’s capacity to resolve its own challenges.

This was the message from President Jacob Zuma and his Namibian counterpart, President Hage Geingob, who were meeting in Pretoria for the 2nd Session of the South Africa-Namibia Bi-National Commission (BNC).

The session discussed, among other things, measures to strengthen trade and investment ties in the fields of transport, health, education, science and technology, agriculture, immigration and energy.

In his opening addressing at the start of the session, President Zuma said the two countries need to prioritise economic cooperation, focusing on projects that are consistent with the SADC Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) and the Southern African Customs Union transformation agenda.

“It is in the interest of the region that we work hard to increase intra-regional trade based on the complementarities that exist between our countries,” said President Zuma.

The RISDP is a comprehensive development and implementation framework guiding the regional integration agenda of SADC until 2020. It is designed to provide clear strategic direction with respect to SADC programmes, projects and activities in line with the SADC common agenda and strategic priorities.

The ultimate objective of the plan is to deepen integration in the region with a view to accelerate poverty eradication and the attainment of other economic and non-economic development goals.

President Hage said two countries must correct the imbalance in trade relations between the two countries, while developing potential synergies to harness trade with other African States.

South Africa is the source of 66% of Namibia’s imports and is responsible for approximately 80% of investments in key industries such as mining, retail, banking agriculture and insurance.  

Imports from Namibia stood at R6 481 614 826, while exports to Namibia were at R52 862 722 906 last year.

“We should not only focus on pursuing win-win relationships with our international partners, but let us pursue and build win-win partnerships amongst ourselves as neighbours, as friends and as Africans,” said President Hage.

He shared the same message on Thursday at the Invest in Namibia international conference in Johannesburg. The conference was attended by business leaders as well as Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe and Gauteng Premier David Makhura.

Friday’s BNC also assessed progress in the implementation of bilateral projects and exchange views on issues of mutual concern so parties can work together to find solutions.

There are currently 71 signed agreements and Memoranda of Understanding between the two countries.  

“This meeting underscores our collective commitment to the consolidation of our bilateral cooperation and strategic partnership. The BNC provides us with a platform to assess progress in all areas of cooperation and most importantly, it provides us with an opportunity to expand the areas of cooperation for the mutual benefits our respective countries and peoples,” said President Zuma.

President Hage called on the Ministers to work hard towards the implementation of the signed agreements.

“The problem in Africa is that we have beautiful policies on glossy paper but they gather dust. Our charge with this BNC is not to wait until the last minute to implement the projects… We must strive to use our friendship to create favourable conditions for our people.”

The Namibian delegation also used the opportunity to thank the South African government for drought relief.

“This is proof of good neighbourliness. This is what the big brother does for the small ones,” said President Hage.

Joint Communiqué On the Occasion of the Second Session of South Africa-Namibia Bi-National Commission

  1. At the invitation of the President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency, Mr. Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, the President of the Republic of Namibia, His Excellency, Dr. Hage G. Geingob visited South Africa from 6 to 7 October 2016.

  2. Both Heads of State were accompanied by delegations of Ministers and Senior Government Officials. The meeting of the two Heads of State was preceded by a Ministerial Meeting which took place on 6 October 2016 and a Senior Official’s Meeting which was held from 4-5 October 2016.

  3. During the official talks, the two Heads of State reviewed a wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues. They expressed satisfaction at the strong bilateral relations existing between the two countries which are informed by historical, political, economic, social and cultural ties.

  4. The two leaders noted with appreciation the expansive nature of the bilateral cooperation which includes, amongst others; trade and investment, energy, agriculture, tourism, infrastructure development, mining, defence and security, immigration, environment, transport and communications.

  5. During the official talks, the two Heads of State noted that the Memorandum of Understanding on Higher Education has been finalised. They directed the Ministers of Higher Education to sign this MoU at their earliest convenience. The Heads of State also welcomed signing of the Terms of Reference of the Joint Committee of Experts on the Orange River Boundary.

  6. The two Presidents directed the various Committees under the Bi-National Commission to meet regularly and expedite the implementation of strategic projects aimed at sustainable development and the well-being of the people of the two countries.

  7. The two Heads of State also exchanged views on the political and security developments as well as the consideration of democracy in the region. In this regard, they reaffirmed their commitment to working together in pursuit of sustainable peace and stability in the region.

  8. Both Presidents congratulated the people of the United Republic of Tanzania, the Republic of Seychelles and the Republic of Zambia for conducting peaceful elections.

  9. Furthermore, they expressed their concern on the continuing peace and security challenges in the Continent, particularly the emergence of extremism and terrorism and highlighted the need for coordinated and collaborative Continental efforts to deal with these challenges.

  10. They also expressed their deep commitment to African unity and implementation of Agenda 2063 and its Action Plan.

  11. Regarding international matters, the two Heads of State reaffirmed their commitment to the United Nations Agenda 2030 and reiterated their common view on the need to reform the United Nations Security Council and other multilateral institutions, including the Bretton Woods institutions to better represent the interests of the developing countries.  In this context, the two Heads of State further agreed to coordinate positions at multilateral fora.

  12. The two Presidents reaffirmed their solidarity with the people of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, the people of Palestine, the Leadership of the Polisario Front and the PLO respectively.

  13. His Excellency, President Hage G. Geingob expressed his appreciation for the invitation extended to him by the Government and the People of the Republic of South Africa and for the warm welcome and hospitality accorded to him and his delegation.

  14. His Excellency, President Hage G. Geingob extended an invitation to His Excellency, President Jacob Zuma to visit Namibia for the Third Session of the Bi-National Commission (BNC) during 2017 on a date to be mutually determined through diplomatic channels.

Issued by: Department of International Relations and Cooperation


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