Windhoek - Russia is keen to enhance its economic relations with Namibia in mineral resources particularly uranium, Chairperson of the Federal Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, Valentina Matvienko, has said.
Speaking at State House in Namibia during her three-day working visit to the country last week, Matvienko applauded Namibia for opening up licensing for uranium exploration and expressed Russia’s willingness to work closely with Namibia in the field of geology and subsoil management.
She said her visit had convinced her that both Moscow and Windhoek shared the interest in further developing productive cooperation such as trade relations among other areas.
“Namibia is a country very rich in mineral resources that is why it is important to develop projects in the area of geological survey. Russia has very good geological survey systems from the technologies, experts to scientific centres. We are expecting proposals from the Namibian side to know the areas in which Russian companies work further,” Matvienko said.
She said Russia supports Namibian President Hage Geingob's notion on the essence of international cooperation for Africa to attain Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
“President Geingob’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the Russia-Africa Summit has become a dimension of new air for our bilateral international relations. During his speech at the Russia-Africa Summit, President Geingob said Africa is going through direct changes and in achieving the goals, including the SDGs, it is impossible without international cooperation with other countries including Russia, and without such cooperation, it will be impossible for Africa to reach a full potential of the resources that it has. I agree with you there.”
She said Russia was pleased with the friendship and trust it has with Namibia which was characterised with regular political dialogues. The two countries have had several exchange visits. For instance, there has been two visits by Russian Foreign Ministers to Namibia and recently the Namibian Deputy Prime Minister, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, also visited Russia.
Matvienko said Russia appreciated the independence of the Namibian foreign policy and appreciated its foreign policy political agenda. Her country also wished to enhance its parliamentary links with Namibia.
“The role of inter-parliamentary relations is always growing and we believe that the parliaments can do a lot in implementing the agreements that have already been done between Russia and Namibia.
“We came here with a strong intention of enhancing the parliamentary links between Russia and Namibia for the good of our people. We have agreed to sign agreements between the chambers of our parliament in cooperation to establish a legal basis for our cooperation and the plans for the future. If Namibia supports these decisions to sign an agreement, I would ask President Geingob to invite the Chair of the National Council of Russia to have a visit and sign this inter-parliament agreement in Namibia.”
She said her country was willing to increase the number of scholarships for Namibian students and that more could be done to expand educational and scientific exchanges between Russia and Namibian universities.
In response, President Geingob welcomed the idea of Russian companies exploring opportunities and doing businesses that added value to Namibian products and created employment.
Geingob emphasized the need for the Namibian government to expedite the conclusion of outstanding draft agreements with the Russian Federation in order to strengthen trade, business and people to people exchanges.
The Namibian President highlighted that his country would do necessary procedures to ensure that visa requirements for citizens of the Russian Federation were waved for Namibia to benefit from increased tourist arrivals and business opportunities.
“We will also ensure that visa requirements for citizens of the Russian Federations are waved for Namibia to benefit from increased tourist arrivals and business opportunities from the Federation,” he said.