South Africa, Namibia highlight areas of partnership

South Africa and Namibia have reached agreements in more than 150 areas which will deepen relations between the two Southern African countries.

This was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa during the South Africa-Namibia Business Forum held in Namibia.

“Our Ministers of International Relations tabled a report at the Bi-National Commission where they reported on up to 159 areas of agreement that they have worked on in the past few days. This process started after His Excellency Hage Geingob visited South Africa on a state visit earlier this year.

“This business forum was presaged by those agreements that they have been working on for all this time. To have had up to 150-something areas agreement is a truly outstanding feat…that is a result of real good hard work,” he said.

The President said the two countries can use the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area to position themselves as an industrialising hub for the continent with a focus on increased trade between the two countries and with the rest of the continent.

The agreements presented encouraged the two governments to deepen or broaden cooperation in four specific areas including in:

Green Hydrogen

Developing cross-border value-chains to boost industrialisation and economic development

Promoting higher levels of investment in each other’s economies

Facilitating deeper private sector relations

On Green Hydrogen, the President said: “South Africa is in the process of considering and finalising a Green Hydrogen Commercialisation Strategy. Namibia too is implementing its green hydrogen strategy. We can either go it alone as South Africa and Namibia or we can position this part of the west coast of the African continent as a key green hydrogen region.”

Turning to cross border value chains, President Ramaphosa said the two countries together have “the key elements of success”.

“We have raw materials, ranging from critical minerals to agricultural raw materials. We have technology, capital, an increasingly skilled and educated workforce and infrastructure. A number of value chains can be identified.

“One of these relate to our use of critical minerals to ensure that manufacturing takes place on the African continent,” he said.

President Ramaphosa highlighted South Africa’s favourability as an investment destination and called on Namibian businesses to do business in the country and called on South African companies to do the same.

“I want to invite Namibian businesses who want to expand their operations to set up businesses in our country. Similarly, South African companies can work with the government of Namibia and local business partners to set up operations here.

“In order to boost investment, we agreed earlier today to request our Ministers of Trade and Industry to work towards establishing a financing facility for industrial and productive development projects,” he said.

President Ramaphosa said business forums like the one held on Friday are an example of platforms that must be created to strengthen “dialogue and stimulate joint ventures” in the private sectors of both countries.

“Namibian businesses must see benefits from the involvement of South African firms in Namibia, and vice versa.

“I wish to welcome two key decisions we made at the Binational Commission today. They are, firstly, to deepen cooperation to attract private sector investment in agreed areas of cooperation.

“Secondly, to establish a South Africa-Namibia Business Council to serve as a public-private sector platform for coordinated and concerted actions,” President Ramaphosa said.

Source: South African Government News Agency