Windhoek – Namibia will continue to create synergies for local businesses with international partners as part of a deliberate economic diplomacy thrust to strategically position the economy to get as many benefits as possible out of the African Free Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Deputy Prime Minister and International Relations and Co-operation Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah has said.
She was addressing parliament this week while motivating her ministry’s budget allocation.
“In line with the strategic objectives of the ministry to pursue economic diplomacy with special emphasis on creating market access for our products, the ministry will seek niche markets for Namibian products. (For instance) Namibian salt is in demand in many parts of Africa and beyond for household and industrial purposes.
“Therefore (the ministry) will endeavour to capitalise on this demand by linking local suppliers with these regional and international markets, the aim is to increase trade and investment in order to grow our economy, create jobs and eradicate poverty.
The Deputy PM underscored the benefits of intra-Africa trade saying: “The Africa Continental Free Trade Area will increase our access to a market across Africa, with a combined GDP of US$3.4 trillion. Therefore, our Mission in Accra, Ghana (the host of AfCFTA Secretariat) has become one of our major economic post, which is to advise us on how best we can benefit from that trade agreement.”
She also told legislators that Namibia remained committed to implementation of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and SADC Vision 2050, which have been internalised in Namibia’s National Development Plans.
“As a member of the African Union, Namibia will also benefit from co-operation between Africa and her other partners. During the forthcoming financial year, the following meetings are expected to take place: the Africa-Turkey Summit, the AU-EU Summit, the Africa-Arab Summit, the Tokyo International Conference of African Development and the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation Ministerial Meetings. The Ministry will also continue to explore new opportunities through the Permanent Joint Commissions of Co-operation to optimise bilateral cooperation and trade,” she said.
Namibia’s top diplomat said the country had much to gain from promoting regional integration.
“What is required during this time of economic recovery from the impact of COVID-19 is aggressive and effective engagement with regional and international partners in order to harness the potential of trade and investment opportunities. The just launched Harambee Prosperity Plan II has given us a clear mandate in this regard, including to work with local business communities to advance economic diplomacy.”