President Cyril Ramaphosa says Namibia and South Africa will deepen trade and investment ties with a Bi-National Commission (BNC) expected to be held between the countries later this year.
The President was speaking during a media briefing during the Official State Visit by Namibian President Hage Geingob and several of that country’s Ministers on Thursday.
President Ramaphosa said progress has already been made in various sectors of mutual interests with new agreements signed in order to “further expand our formal scope of cooperation”.
“Our ministers responsible for trade and industry will convene a Business Forum later this year to be attended by business people from both countries.
We also agreed that the ministers of trade of the two countries should put in place a mechanism to protect investments in our respective countries.
“We will work together to leverage the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area and the Tripartite Free Trade Area between the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the East African Community,” he said.
President Ramaphosa highlighted that the aim of the State Visit was to “discuss, review and strengthen our political, social and economic” relations.
Namibia’s last State Visit to South Africa was held some 10 years ago.
He said during the official talks, the two countries’ delegations discussed “broad areas of cooperation and evaluated progress in the implementation of previous decisions and agreements” between the two Southern African neighbours.
“We have directed that an audit of our legal instruments be conducted prior to the convening of the South Africa-Namibia Bi-National Commission in Windhoek later this year.
In view of the length of time between sessions of our Bi-National Commission, we have discussed the need for an Inter-Session Review Mechanism of BNC decisions and commitments.
“This work is important for our collective efforts to rebuild our economies and improve the livelihoods of our people following the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
Turning to issues of security on the continent, President Ramaphosa said discussions also expanded to conflict on the continent and in Europe.
“As South Africa, we wish Namibia well in its role as chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, which is playing a central role in advancing peace and stability in the region.
“I have assured President Geingob that we will continue, as part of the SADC collective and within available resources, to assist with regional initiatives such as the SADC Mission in Mozambique.
“We expressed our concern at the current situation in Sudan, the ongoing occupation of Western Sahara, the continued denial of the aspirations of the Palestinian people, and the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine,” he said.
Concluding his address, President Ramaphosa emphasised that the State Visit has buttressed the relations between the two countries.
“This State Visit has done much to reinforce the solid political, social and economic relations between our two countries in pursuit of mutual development and prosperity.
“All in all…we had wonderful discussions and our cooperation is of a historic nature, bound by our struggle against the evil Apartheid system. We continue to be allies, we continue to be countries that are forging prosperity, united in our quest to improve the livelihoods of our people,” he said.