The People’s Republic of China on Tuesday seconded a 15-man team of agronomic experts to render technical assistance in the agricultural field in Namibia over the next two years to boost the agricultural sector.
The experts and technicians were seconded under the South-South Tripartite Agreement between Namibia, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the government of the People’s Republic of China, signed in June last year.
Under the agreement, FAO is responsible for the recruitment, salaries and well-being of personnel involved in the project.
The international body will also arrange periodic technical supervision.
The Namibian Government on its part will be responsible, amongst others, for the cost of import and customs clearance of the project’s equipment, transportation, storage, insurance and maintenance.
Speaking at the ministerial headquarters yesterday, the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, John Mutorwa, expressed optimism about the project and lauded the Chinese Government’s financial and technical assistance, which led to the “practical and visible implementation of this project”.
Mutorwa further implored ministerial staff to ensure the experts feel welcome, saying: “Let us make them feel at home away from home.”
He also called on staff to ensure all obligations, commitments, tasks and objectives related to the tripartite agreement are implemented without delay.
Speaking on behalf of the experts, the Chinese Ambassador to Namibia Xin Sunkang vowed that the experts would work hard to ensure that the project is successful and assured they would abide by the national laws during their stay. Over the years, Chinese nationals working in Namibia have been accused of contravening national laws and exploiting locals.
“These experts have worked in other African states before and already made comprehensive plans and arrangements on how to do their work during their stay,” said the ambassador.
Xin also vowed that the experts would work with the locals while at the same time transfer skills.
Also welcoming the Chinese experts to Namibia, FAO Country Representative Babagana Ahmadu said the experts had all been selected in line with FAO’s terms of selection.
“The experts we have here today are the best we could get. They are experienced and have worked in other African states. This project will ensure skills and expertise transfer,” he said.