WINDHOEK – Due to Namibia’s geographic location, stable political and social environment, good infrastructure and a free investment environment, the country enjoys exceptional advantages in China’s multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This is according to the Minister of Economic Planning and Director General of the National Planning Commission (NPC), Obeth Kandjoze, who shared these sentiments yesterday during the China-Namibia Think Tank and Media Dialogue meeting which took place in Windhoek.
“The Belt and Road Initiative advocates for peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit. It promotes policy coordination, facilitates connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people bonds as its major goals, advances practical cooperation in all fields and works to build a community of shared interests, responsibility and destiny featuring mutual political trust, economic integration and cultural inclusiveness,” said Kandjoze.
He noted that some of Namibia’s existing projects have been implemented under the spirit and framework of the BRI, which he said means that Namibia has already benefitted from the massive initiative. These projects include the Husab Uranium Mine, the Walvis Bay Container Terminal and several roads construction projects.
“Both our National Development Plans, such as Vision 2030, the Harambee Prosperity Plan, National Development Plan 5 and the Namibia Logistics Hub Master Plan have much in common with the BRI. BRI is aimed at bringing construction funds, high-quality production capacity and advanced technologies to Namibia, promote China’s investment and create more jobs for Namibia,” said Kandjoze.
Yesterday’s BRI event took place under the framework of the Second China-Africa Public Diplomacy Forum and the meeting was co-hosted by the Chinese Embassy in Namibia and the China Public Diplomacy Association.
In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed an initiative of building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which are now called the Belt and Road Initiative.
According to China, the purpose of BRI is to reinvigorate the spirit of the ancient Silk Road, focusing on enhancing connectivity and practical cooperation.
The BRI cooperation has made significant progress in different areas such as policy docking, infrastructure investment, economic corridors, economic and trade cooperation zones, industrial parks, financial and trade cooperation, innovation and technology, maritime cooperation, business interaction and cultural exchanges.
According to the Chinese, the total trade volume between China and the BRI cooperation countries has exceeded US$6 trillion while China says that its investment in these countries has surpassed US$80 billion. Studies by the World Bank and other international institutions indicate that BRI cooperation will cut the cost of global trade by 1.1 per cent to 2.2 per cent. So far, 37 African countries have signed Belt and Road cooperation documents with China.
In 2018, China-Africa trade volume reached US$204 billion, and China’s investment in Africa has exceeded US$110 billion.
In September 2018, China and Namibia signed a memorandum of understanding on BRI Cooperation during the Forum on China–Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Beijing summit.