Tinomuda Chakanyuka in WINDHOEK, Namibia
ZIMBABWE and Namibia yesterday signed seven bilateral agreements under the 9th Zimbabwe-Namibia Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation (JPCC), with President Mnangagwa and his host, President Hage Geingob, undertaking to further strengthen economic ties between the two countries.
Relations between Zimbabwe and Namibia date back to the two countries’ liberation struggles, and yesterday, the two Presidents shared anecdotes of how the countries have been consolidated over the years.
President Mnangagwa is in Namibia on a three-day State visit, which started on Wednesday.
Delegates from Zimbabwe and Namibia spent two days deliberating on seven bilateral agreements, which were eventually signed at Namibia State House yesterday in the presence of the countries’ leaders.
Some of the deals include a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on promotion of small to medium enterprises, with particular focus on women; terms of reference on joint trade and economic cooperation; and a revised MoU on information and media.
The two countries agreed to cooperate in the area of science and technology development, while the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) and the Namibian Customs and Excise Department signed an agreement on mutual customs administrative assistance.
Zimra and the Namibian Customs and Excise Department also signed an agreement on practical implementation of bilateral trade agreements while Mashonaland West Province and Namibia’s Kavango eastern region agreed on a twinning arrangement.
Speaking after the signing of the agreements, Presidents Mnangagwa and Geingob welcomed the proposal by the JPCC delegation to upgrade Zimbabwe and Namibia’s bilateral relations to Bi-National level.
President Mnangagwa described the signing of agreements as a reflection of the commitment by Harare and Windhoek “to intensify economic cooperation”.
“However, it is imperative that these agreements are timely and diligently implemented,” he said.
President Mnangagwa invited public and private sector companies in both countries to take full advantage of the agreements and explore investment opportunities and markets for their products.
“The volume of trade and economic cooperation between the two countries must increase and there are vast prospects in this regard.
“Both public and private sector companies and as well as small and medium enterprises must be encouraged to pursue markets in our respective countries.
“In Zimbabwe, opportunities exist in agriculture, mining, health infrastructure, manufacturing (and) tourism, among others,” he said.
President Mnangagwa also congratulated his Namibian counterpart for “the excellent manner” in which he has steered the SADC bloc during his tenure as Chairman.
President Geingob’s tenure as SADC chair ends next month.
The Namibian President paid tribute to Zimbabwe for supporting his country’s development since independence.
“Since independence in 1990, we have been consolidating bilateral ties,” he said.
“While noting the good progress made, we should place emphasis on our joint efforts to promote economic growth and sustainable development, it is imperative to ensure that agreements between our countries are timeously implemented.
“Namibia has benefited immensely from development assistance from the Government of Zimbabwe in a variety of fields and disciplines.”
President Geingob said despite the challenges Harare is facing, it should continue to enrich the human resources, which will, in turn, supplement Namibia’s development efforts.
The Namibia-Zimbabwe bilateral commission was established in 1992.