SA, Namibia to review strategic partnerships

Monday, November 2, 2009

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma is to host his Namibian counterpart, President Hifikepunye Pohamba, to discuss the consolidation of economic relations between the two countries.

The two are set to co-chair the SA-Namibia Heads of State Economic Bilateral Forum on Tuesday at the Presidential Guesthouse.

"The Heads of State Economic Bilateral Forum between South Africa and Namibia takes place within the context of strengthening the bilateral relations and further seeks to consolidate efforts aimed at regional economic integration within the Southern African Development Community (SADC)," said International Relations' and Cooperation spokesperson Nomfanelo Kota.

According to Kota, the meeting will present the two leaders with the opportunity to ascertain progress in the implementation of milestone regional projects like the Trans-Kalahari Rail, as well the Trans Kunene Corridor.

Furthermore, sectors to be discussed during the commission include trade and industry; agriculture; energy; environment and tourism; science and technology as well as transport and communications.

Upon conclusion, three agreements on tourism, energy and transport are expected to be signed.

"It is also expected that the two Heads of State will exchange views on the newly created National Planning Commission headed by Minister Trevor Manuel, to share expertise for mutual benefit in both countries," said Kota.

Zuma will be supported by the International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana Mashabane, nine other Cabinet ministers and senior government officials from various departments.

The Economic Bilateral Commission serves as a platform for reinforcing bilateral economic relations between South Africa and its north western neighbour.

South Africa is one of Namibia's most important economic partners, with bilateral trade between South Africa and Namibia accounting about two thirds of Namibia's total foreign trade.

The strategic relations between South Africa and Namibia are further enhanced by the two countries' membership of the Southern African Customs Union and the Common Monetary Union.