‘Namibia-Zim bilateral co-operation should play a role in AfCFTA operationalisation’

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Sharon Kavhu

Windhoek - Namibia-Zimbabwe bilateral co-operation should play a positive role in the operationalisation of the African Continent Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), Namibian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah has said.

Speaking during the 9th Session of the Namibia-Zimbabwe Joint Permanent Commission her this week, Nandi-Ndaitwah said the two countries have immense potential that needs to be explored, especially in the areas of human resources.

She said such areas have potential to optimise trade and economic growth between the two countries.

“On the 7th of July in Niger, African Heads of State and Government launched the (AfCFTA), an instrument that is aimed at facilitating trade between African countries with no hindrances. It is therefore important that within our bilateral cooperation, our two countries must be ready to play a role in the operationalisation of AfCTA as that is the way Africa’s Agenda 2063 can be realised. 

“It is only when we trade more with each other that we can realise the dream of the AfCTA, as envisioned in the Agenda 2063, our continental developmental blueprint.”

She acknowledged the proactive involvement of women in the importation of fruits and vegetables from Zimbabwe, adding that the development is significant towards economic empowerment as per the Memorandum of Understanding on Promotion of Women Empowerment, Gender and Community Development between Namibia and Zimbabwe.

Nandi-Ndaitwah urged the private sectors from both Namibia and Zimbabwe to actively engage in mutually beneficial partnerships aimed at accelerating trade and economic growth between the two countries.

Supporting the Namibian Deputy Prime Minister, Zimbabwean Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Sibusiso Moyo, said the bilateral cooperation between Zimbabwe and Namibia could be further straightened and made more impactful to the AfCTA by the participation of the private sectors.

“The need to further strengthen our economic cooperation cannot be over-emphasized. Success in this endeavour will not be fully realised without the participation of our private sectors. We need to create the enabling environment for the private sector to invest in our countries and trade among themselves. 

“In this regard, we need to expedite the conclusion of various agreements that will eliminate market restrictive measures like the agreement on the avoidance of double taxation, the customs mutual assistance agreement and the MOU on the promotion of small and medium enterprises,” said Moyo.

He noted that the establishment of a Zimbabwean dry port at Walvis Bay, which is a child of the existing bilateral cooperation between the two countries, was expected to promote trade and regional integration in the region.

“The offer by Namibia to Zimbabwe to lease land for a dry port is a gracious reflection of goodwill and friendship which further strengthens the bonds that bind us together.  Indeed, Zimbabwe is greatly appreciative of this gesture which will reduce both transport costs and transit time for exports out of Zimbabwe to the western hemisphere.  The dry port will also resonate well with the SADC’s goal on investment in infrastructure development, which is a key facilitator of the regional integration agenda and also within the continent, of the continental free trade area,” he said.

The bilateral cooperation between Namibia and Zimbabwe was cemented by the establishment of the Namibia-Zimbabwe Joint Permanent Commission of Co-operation on 17 August 1992.  The Joint Permanent Commission of Cooperation laid the foundation for increased cooperation between the two countries. It ensures the further strengthening of the two countries’ bilateral relations, which are based on a shared history of struggle against colonialism and foreign domination.

 

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