China’s investment in Namibia since Independence in 1990 has surpassed the N$60 billion mark, making it one of the highest by any single trading partner to date. With plans in the pipeline to build a factory to locally produce vaccines for foot-and-mouth disease and other medicines for livestock in Namibia, the investment bill of China – the world’s second largest economy – is expected to reach new heights.
China and Namibia signed a Reciprocal Investment and Protection Agreement in August 2005, paving the way for Chinese firms to enter the local market. Today Namibia is home to more than 40 Chinese companies that are generating about US$4,6 billion in revenue per year, China’s embassy in Windhoek said last year.
By far the most prominent milestone in Chinese investment came in the form of the joint venture between the Chinese State-owned company, China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGNPC), and Namibian State-owned mining company Epangelo Mining, with Epangelo’s acquisition of a 10% stake in Husab Uranium Mine.
With CGNPC’s total long-term investment of US$5 billion, Husab Mine will propel Namibia to become the second largest uranium producer in the world, providing 2 000 permanent and 4 000 temporary jobs in the process, while contributing at least 5% percent to the Namibian GDP, Xinhua reported last year.
China’s Ambassador to Namibia Xin Shunkang met Vice-President Nickey Iyambo this week to bid farewell as the diplomat’s term comes to an end.
Under Xin’s tenure – which lasted three years and eight months – Chinese businesses employed more than 6 000 Namibians, he said.
During Xin’s farewell courtesy call at the old State House, VP Iyambo thanked the outgoing ambassador for his assistance in strengthening relations between Namibia and China.
“We want to thank you for what you have done, specifically furthering the relationship between Namibia and China,” Iyambo said. “Let’s continue to have not only a government-to-government relationship, but a people-to-people relationship,” the vice-president advised.
Iyambo also thanked the outgoing ambassador for his keen interest in uplifting Namibian communities. “I have with keen interest been following what you have been doing here in terms of the Namibian community and we value that very much,” Iyambo said.
On his part, Ambassador Xin thanked VP Iyambo for the unconditional support he rendered during Xin’s stay in the country.
He also thanked Vice-President Iyambo and the Namibian people for the warmth and hospitality shown to him during his tenure, saying he will always remember and cherish the memories of his time here. “China is ready to work with Namibia in their second struggle of economic emancipation,” said the outgoing ambassador, who enjoyed popularity in the diplomatic fraternity and the media.
Xin and Iyambo also discussed issues of common concern, such as future bilateral agreements, the export of the Namibian meat to China, and the possibility of attracting more Chinese tourists to Namibia.
New Era understands that Xin’s tenure in the Chinese Foreign Service came to an end after he reached the mandatory retirement age for Chinese diplomats and civil servants.
Meanwhile, the Chinese government – through the office of the Chinese ambassador – yesterday inaugurated the new Otjomuise Secondary School, situated in Windhoek’s 7de Laan area, where Vice-President Nicky Iyambo delivered the keynote address.
The state-of-the-art school, constructed at a cost of N$120 million, is one of the largest Chinese donations towards Namibia’s education system.