Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed his willingness to deepen practical cooperation with Namibia in infrastructure improvement during a meeting with President Hage Geingob here on Friday.
The Chinese government encourages enterprises to actively take part in the construction and operation of transport facilities, ports and other infrastructure in the African country to promote its economic and social development, Xi told Geingob on the sidelines of a China-Africa summit.
Namibia is an important partner of China in the African continent, Xi said, stressing that China stands ready to work with Namibia to translate their traditional friendship into a new impetus of cooperation and development.
Xi called on the two sides to further political mutual trust and deepen all-round exchanges.
China and Namibia should expand cooperation in fields such as culture, education, tourism, youth and media exchanges to strengthen public support for bilateral ties, Xi noted.
The Chinese president also called for more coordination between the two countries in international affairs so as to safeguard the common interests of developing countries
Hailing the time-honoured Namibia-China friendship, Geingob expressed his appreciation for China’s valuable support in Namibia’s national independence struggle and current development.
Under the new circumstances, Namibia is willing to push forward cooperation with China in areas such as infrastructure, agriculture and new-energy exploration, he said.
A two-day summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) kicked off here earlier in the day, grouping leaders and representatives from China, 50 African countries and the Commission of the African Union to find a way for a stronger China-African relationship.
Geingob said FOCAC’s first time gathering in Africa is testimony “of a maturing partnership” and that its theme appropriately speaks respectfully towards Africa’s demand for an equal partnership and mutually beneficial development.
“Our collective determination to bring
about development on our continent is tempered by the understanding that we cannot do it alone. To this extent, our partnership with China is one built on long lasting and historic solidarity, as well as mutual respect. It is therefore offensive when we are lectured by certain nations and warned about the so-called Chinese colonization of Africa,” stressed Geingob.
“It is ironic that those who warn us are the same nations who sat around the table at the Berlin Conference in 1884 and carved out colonies in Africa with the sole intent to develop their countries with our mineral resources and the blood and sweat of our forced labour. The same countries that complain about Chinese investment in Africa are themselves recipients of large-scale Chinese investment. As these nations have faith in their capacity to negotiate the best deals for themselves, Africans too have this same capacity,” he said.
Chinese companies operating in Namibia have created more than 6 000 jobs for locals, Chinese ambassador to Namibia Xin Shunkang told Xinhua several months ago.
Trade between the two countries has been mutually beneficial with Chinese investment contributing to the development of Namibia’s industries while Namibia has helped China expand its overseas market.
According to the ambassador, there are about 46 Chinese companies operating in Namibia in the formal economy led by Swakop Uranium, which is investing US$2.5 billion (N$32.5 billion) in the world-class Husab mine.
Swakop Uranium is majority owned by the Chinese state-owned China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Corp.
Besides mining, Chinese companies also invest in other industries such as manufacturing, agriculture and construction.
Xin says Namibia has become one of the most important trade partners of China among African countries.
The trade volume between the two countries reached US$863 million in 2014 with Namibia exporting US$318 million worth of goods to China and importing US$545 million worth of products from the Asian economic giant.
From January to May 2015, the trade volume between the two countries stood at US$286 million, an increase of 0.56 percent compared to the same period last year.
Namibia mainly exports ore, nonferrous metal, aquatic products, fur skins and leather products to China while importing textile products, furniture, machinery and electronic goods.
Trade between the two countries is set to increase after the signing of an agreement this year that will soon allow Namibian beef to enter the Chinese market.
Namibia is a world-class producer of prime free-range beef.
– Additional reporting by Xinhua