Call To Involve Border Communities in Crime War

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By Staff Reporter

WINDHOEK

Outgoing Zambia’s High Commissioner to Namibia Griffin Nyirongo has said Namibia and Zambia should continue sensitizing communities living on their common border about the eradication of criminal activities in the border areas.

Nyirongo told Nampa yesterday that the communities along the two countries’ borders need to be alerted to the consequences of illicit activities and implored upon to report such activities to authorities.

He said through such initiatives, Zambian and Namibian operators are being encouraged to promote tourist attractions in the two
countries.

“In this vein, I would like to encourage airlines in both countries to continue with discussions to introduce direct flights between the two nations as part of their contribution to promote tourism in and between Zambia and Namibia,” he noted.

“It is my hope that the discussions that we have started in this regard will soon bear fruits. Critical to this is the conclusion of the Bilateral Air Service Agreement, which is still being discussed,” the diplomat said.

He said significant progress has been made with regard to the Zambia- Namibia Joint Venture Agriculture Project (ZANAP), which is aimed at delivering agricultural produce for the two countries.

Land for the project has already been identified at Sesheke, and the feasibility study report of the project is now being considered in the two capitals.

The project entails production on the Zambian side, and processing plants to be set up in both Zambia and Namibia.

According to Nyirongo, people-to-people interaction through the launch of the Zambia-Namibia Express bus service in March 2005, has increased the visits to and from Zambia and vice versa.

“The bus which serves the Lusaka-Windhoek route, parks at a parking lot across the Chancery of the High Commission, and is most of the time full,” he noted.

Turning to his stay here, he said various public and private institutions, including the media, always had their doors open and thus enormously contributed to them being able to conduct their work in a very conducive environment and with minimal obstructions.

He continued: “One of the low points of my tenure is the non-existence of a Namibia – Zambia Friendship Association, through which the two countries’ historical bonds with their roots in the liberation struggle would be passed on from generation to generation. We must preempt a situation where the heroic contribution of Zambia to the liberation of Namibia is lost with the passing on of those who lived through the struggle. I implore all progressive citizens of Namibia and Zambia in Namibia to seriously look into setting up such a forum.”

He said from 2004 to 2006, trade between the two countries grew from US$15.1m (N$114,7 million) to US$17.2m (N$130,7 million), with the balance of trade in Zambia’s favour.

He said: “I am certain that with the increase in the export of maize to Namibia, the trade volumes will continue to grow. Zambia is geared towards becoming the grain basket of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region and, hence, we need to open up new markets for
our grain.”

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