8 November 2013
South Africa and Namibia need to prioritise cross-border infrastructure to facilitate an easier flow of goods and services, President Jacob Zuma told the inaugural meeting of the SA-Namibia Bi-National Commission in Windhoek on Thursday.
Zuma, who was on a two-day state visit to Namibia, said called for the two countries to push their trade volumes even higher and to explore new, untapped areas of cooperation.
“We need to encourage our private sector to forge close cooperation consistent with our strategic desire to increase mutually beneficial economic cooperation between our sister republics.”
The semi-arid, diamond-rich country has strong economic ties with Pretoria. South Africa is the destination of 66% of Namibia’s exports and holds approximately 80% of investments in key sectors of Namibia’s economy, including mining, retail, banking and insurance.
Zuma said the bi-national forum should be a platform for the two countries to drive for more consistent interaction in key economic sectors, as well as adopt a strategic approach to all cooperation.
“South Africa and Namibia share historical, geographical, cultural and fraternal bonds,” Zuma said. “Our relations were cemented during the difficult times of our respective struggles for liberation against colonialism and apartheid.
“Ours, therefore, are relations of a special kind, which make it only natural and logical for our two countries to enjoy strong bilateral cooperation.”