Albertina Nakale Windhoek-President Hage Geingob says South Africa should regard Namibia as an important trading partner, adding that in 2017 total trade between the two countries stood at N$64.1 billion. Geingob made the remarks on Friday evening at State House during a one-day state visit by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. Although South Africa is Namibia’s largest trading partner, Geingob however said that trade between the two countries remains heavily skewed in favour of South Africa, with Namibia importing goods worth N$49.1 billion from South Africa, while exporting goods worth N$15.0 billion to her southern neighbour. He said Namibia’s investment portfolio and exposure in South Africa stood at N$82 billion in 2017. Of these, he noted, N$34.6 billion was invested in equity securities, N$33.3 billion in debt securities and N$14.1 billion in other asset instruments, such as unit trusts and property. “As it should, our relationship is characterised by friendship and economic interdependence. No country can prosper on its own,” said Geingob. Ramaphosa said his visit aimed to open channels of communication, as the two countries would be dealing with crucial issues pertaining to economy, security and trade in the future. He said South Africans are on a journey of transformation, which is inclusive of all its people, irrespective of gender, colour, religion or class, adding that they are in a new dawn that will look at boosting the economy so that people would benefit from the economic projects. “This new dawn means we have to look at everything that can boost our fortunes as a country. Economically, we want to project more growth. We are embarking on an economic recovery path because our economy has been in the doldrums. We have to look at those transformational pillars that can be utilised to recover our economy. Clearly, the most important one to us is the creation of jobs,” he maintained. According to him, currently there are nearly 9 million South Africans without jobs. Therefore, he said, they want to open their economy to investment, adding that South Africa is open for such ventures. He promised to embark on the empowerment of women, youth and small and medium enterprises for them to get jobs and acquire skills so that they are able to get into professions and businesses. Ramaphosa, who is also the chair of the South African Development Community (SADC), said visiting Namibia is a renewal of friendship and strengthening of bonds between the two countries. Ramaphosa was in Namibia as part of his three-nation visit that included Angola, Namibia and Botswana to pay courtesy calls on the heads of the respective governments. Namibia will assume SADC chairmanship in August after South Africa. Geingob said Namibia would continue to place emphasis on industrialisation as a pillar of regional integration. “We are convinced that accelerating industrialisation and enhancing prosperity at the national level will accelerate regional integration through the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan of SADC,” he elaborated. On peace and security, Geingob said: “We are mindful of the fact that we cannot achieve regional integration amidst conflict and instability. We should not fail in our efforts in building a new Africa, an Africa free of conflict and one where guns are silent for human progress to be achieved.” President Ramaphosa was accompanied by Ministers Lindiwe Sisulu of International Relations and Cooperation and Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula of Defence and Military Veterans. Ramaphosa commenced his three-nation visit in Luanda, Angola, the current chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, where he had bilateral discussions with President João Lourenço. Ramaphosa travelled to Gaborone, Botswana, the host of the SADC Secretariat, on Saturday, to also hold a consultative meeting with President Seretse Khama. “We will be back here and we will engage on serious matters of the economy, on trade, on our cultural connections, on our political relations and deal with issues that are obviously aimed at developing our two countries, growing our economies, and when it comes to that we will know that we are doing the right thing to take our countries forward,” Ramaphosa noted.
2018-03-05 08:58:11 6 months ago