Namibia and China will in future closely cooperate in finding ways of transferring knowledge in space science, senior Namibian and Chinese government officials said last week.
Both Namibian Deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation and Training, Becky Ndjoze-Otjo and Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yiming underscored the need for cooperation and idea exchange between the two countries.
The two officiated at an engagement between the Namibian University of Science and Technology (NUST) and two Chinese astronauts who visited Namibia as part of arousing interest in university graduates to study astrology.
The two Chinese astronauts who visited Namibia are Liu Yang, the first Chinese woman to visit space, and Chen Dong. The two also interacted with different school going Namibians to build interest in their trade.
Although very few African countries have not invested much in space science, Zhang said Namibia was a key partner to China’s quest in space science.
“This is the second time that Chinese astronauts have visited Africa and the first time was in 2010 when the first group came to Namibia. Namibia and China share very close ties and we hope to continue with these engagements. China is busy putting its resources to have more astronauts visiting space for research and this in future will give an opportunity to everyone, including Namibians, to participate,” he said.
The Chinese astronauts came to Namibia following a visit to that country by Namibian President Hage Geingob last year during which the Chinese promised to visit Namibia on a familiarisation tour.
Zhang also applauded the relations between Namibia and China which he said spread across political and economic cooperation. Recent statistics show that China has overtaken South Africa as a major trading partner for Namibia with Namibian companies now accessing the vast Asian market for beef and horticulture products.
Corroborating Zhang’s sentiments, Ndjoze-Ojo said Namibia needed to emulate the Asian giant’s manoeuvres in aerodynamics which has seen China become a superpower that has regularly organised space exploratory visits.
While Namibian tertiary institutions did not offer space science yet, Ndjoze-Ojo said universities in Namibia would continue to work closely with the Chinese.
“I hope this is a good opportunity for Namibian young people to emulate the progress that the Chinese have done in terms of development. Today, we have the honour of engaging with their astronauts and also their first woman to visit space. This serves as a motivation to young people in Namibia and in Africa to have ambitions to succeed in life,” she said.