Windhoek – Namibia and South Africa have pledged to deepen political and economic co-operation following a meeting between their respective Foreign Affairs ministers in Windhoek this week.
South African International Relations and Co-operation Minister Naledi Pandor was in Namibia for talks with International Relations Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister. Minister Pandor also met President Hage Geingob.
Deputy PM Nandi-Ndaitwah said the two counties enjoyed warm and mutually supportive bilateral relations as reflected by the frequency and reciprocity of high-level visits and the intensive nature of their co-operation over the years.
She said Namibia and South Africa had 91 bilateral agreements and MoUs. This is the highest number of such agreements Namibia has with any country.
“We are meeting during an unprecedented time when our countries and the wider global community are faced with many challenges, including the ongoing scourge of the COVID-19 pandemic which is now in its third wave with experts now warning of an imminent fourth wave,” said Deputy PM Nandi-Ndaitwah.
She went on, “Namibia, with the limited resources at its disposal, is facing challenges in the prevention and management the COVID-19 pandemic. The best way to combat the pandemic is through a sustained united, global and multilateral approach, as no country has been spared from this pandemic.”
Namibia’s top diplomat said South Africa had stood with Namibia through thick and thin.
“I wish to register my appreciation and gratitude to the Government of South Africa for enabling trade and commerce of basic goods to move freely between our borders. I also wish to thank the Government of South Africa for facilitating the safe repatriation and transit through South Africa, of many of Namibians who were stranded abroad, when countries instituted lockdowns.
“Equally, we were able to assist the smooth passage of many South Africans citizens to return home. This culture of generosity between our two nations also came to light when the Government of the Republic of South Africa pledged a donation of R100 million towards our drought relief efforts, when we had a period of recurrent drought from 2015 to 2019. “
Deput PM Nandi-Ndaitwah noted that South Africa was Namibia’s biggest economic partner.
“A vast majority of Namibian students continue to receive their post-graduate education at South African universities. Direct air links between Windhoek and Johannesburg, Windhoek and Cape Town, Walvis Bay and Cape Town continue to bring our people closer together,” she said, adding that.
“Against the backdrop of such intensive cooperation and close people-to-people co-operation, both governments agreed to elevate their Heads of State Bilateral Economic Meeting to a Bi-National Commission, which is co-chaired by our respective Heads of State. Indeed, this is testament to the importance both countries attach to the consolidating their relationship.”