By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK Both governments see the establishment and functioning of the newly launched Namibia/Russian Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation as a new dawn for economic prosperity in their respective countries. This was the collective and optimistic sentiments expressed by the Minister of Natural Resources of Russia, Yuri Trutnev, and Nangolo Mbumba, the Namibian Minister of Education, on Friday during a press conference in the capital. “Though a new dawn, we must undoubtedly do more to enhance trade flow between our two countries such as the beef industry. Namibia’s meat could previously not enter the Russian market. I am confident that through this commission it will become possible,” said Mbumba, who also referred to other areas of cooperation such as air transport. He indicated that his delegation has presented to the commission a list of Namibian products to be considered for preferential entry into Russia through imports and exports. “In this regard two identified banks in our respective countries will work together to help increase the volume of trade between our two countries. We would be particularly happy if the Russians can assist us in resolving Namibia’s dependency on South Africa for energy. But right now we can confidently look forward to the 2010 World Cup because Russia is ready to help us keep the Southern African skies safe during that period in which Namibia is also expected to economically benefit. Some of the participating teams in the World Cup might also be accommodated in Namibia,” Mbumba intimated. Asked whether the Russian concerns about certain issues regarding the new commission had been resolved, Mbumba said: “Yes, all outstanding problems have been resolved. Both sides are now ready to cooperate under this signed agreement. The commission will do its utmost best to encourage Russian and Namibia companies to invest in our respective countries.” According to a more optimistic and satisfied Trutnev the commission has immediately started with its work. “I have met with a number of heads of ministries in Namibia in our quest to develop our trade and business relations on a consistent basis. We just have to decide how to proceed with the processes. I am sure if we work hard we can report positively to our respective government leaders that a major achievement has been reached for both our peoples’ economic benefit and prosperity,” said Trutnev, who indicated the high premium the Russian government has put on the commission for him to have been specially flown to Namibia to be part of the deliberations. The two sides have also formally agreed in principle to cooperate in all spheres of energy, oil, uranium and mineral resources.
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