Southern Times Writer
Windhoek - Namibia and Tanzania should build a partnership for growth and development, focusing on key issues such as agro-processing, value-addition of minerals, manufacturing, and logistics, Namibian President Hage Geingob has said.
Speaking during the opening of officials talks with visiting Tanzanian President John Magufuli here on Monday, Geingob said the two countries were endowed with natural resources that should be exploited and harnessed for the economic benefit of their people.
“In the agricultural sector, Namibia is renowned for her beef, fish, dates, grapes, salt and numerous minerals to mention but a few. All these products are exported to Africa, Europe and Asia in their raw forms.
“Similarly, Tanzania is well-renowned for its scenic beauty, and one of the countries on our continent that has built a strong reputation of attracting tourists. It is essential for our countries to share experiences in these vital sectors and to aim at replicating the success stories in other sectors,” he said.
Namibia and Tanzania, which are both members of SADC, faced the same developmental challenges such as poverty and unemployment that affected their citizens. The onus was therefore on them to redouble their efforts in working towards a goal of eradicating poverty, sustainable development and maintaining peace and stability.
“I am confident that our getting together will yield tangible results on which current and future generations in our countries will be able to build, as we seek to transform and grow our economies and deepen our bilateral cooperation. Let us join our efforts and resources to improve the livelihood of our people,” said Geingob.
Geingob, who is the current SADC Chairperson, said he had been following with concern the tension between Rwanda and Uganda, which had resulted in the closure of the border by Rwanda.
He also said while Burundi had applied to join the SADC family as a member, the SADC assessment mission sent to Burundi had recommended that it was “not yet propitious for Burundi to be admitted into SADC” due to unresolved democratic process in that country.
“We are also concerned about the accusations and counter accusations between Burundi and Rwanda, about interference in each other’s internal affairs,” he said.
Meanwhile, Geingob said Namibians will never forget those who stood by them as they fought against apartheid.
He hailed the late Tanzanian founding President Julius Nyerere as a Pan-Africanist, revolutionary and internationalist who played a pivotal role in the attainment of liberation not only for his country, but the entire Southern African region.
Speaking at the renaming of a street in Windhoek to Julius Nyerere Street in honour of the late Tanzanian founding father, Dr Geingob said it was Nyerere’s Pan-African spirit that allowed SWAPO to find a reliable and dependable centre, where it could establish itself as a formidable player in the political, diplomatic and military training centres to sharpen its skills for the struggle for independence.
"It is for this reason, that Namibia will never forget those who stood by us during the most trying times of our liberation struggle. We are therefore, proud to play our part in honouring one of the outstanding sons of Africa – Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere," he said.
"Many Namibians recall Kongwa camp, a key site in Southern Africa’s armed struggle history, where combatants of the Southern African liberation movements enhanced their military capacity through training received from Pan-Africanist and international friends and allies.
"This invaluable support and training offered to SWAPO by Julius Nyerere and the people of Tanzania, played a critical role in helping SWAPO and its armed wing PLAN to overcome the formidable Apartheid regime and bring to reality, the dream of freedom and independence."
Geingob said Mwalimu, as Nyerere was aptly christened and affectionately known, was a consummate Pan-Africanist. He was also an ardent defender of the downtrodden and forgotten people of the world, who faced injustice at the hands of capitalist exploitation.
It was no surprise, he said, that his legacy had left an indelible mark on the political and social history of the African continent.
"Namibia’s affection for Mwalimu runs deep. It is an affection that is tied to our most defining period as a people and as a nation - the long and bitter struggle for independence. Ancient Chinese Philosopher Lao Tzu once said, 'A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step'.
"Our thousand-mile journey towards independence began with the single steps of young and brave Namibians who decided to take the daunting journey into exile in search of a means to liberate their countrymen and women. Our journey into exile was daunting and we faced many challenging moments but we never wavered since we were spurred into staying on the path of liberation by the exploits of Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Modibo Keita, Abdel Nasser, Jomo Kenyatta, Kenneth Kaunda and other icons of the liberation struggle, whose inspiring words, echoed in our thoughts," he said.