China offers N$40 million for drought relief

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Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

Windhoek-China has pledged N$40 million towards Namibia’s drought relief fund, that country’s visiting deputy minister of foreign affairs, Zhang Ming, announced yesterday.
The donation follows last year’s donation of 4,000 metric tonnes of rice – worth close to N$60 million – to the Namibian government for distribution to thousands of Namibians that were food insecure due to the persistent drought.

Making the announcement in the capital yesterday Ming said Namibia is China’s traditional friend and the Chinese government would like to help the Namibian people with emergency humanitarian food aid to combat the lingering impact of the drought.

He said China would work hand in hand with Namibia to enhance the agricultural sector of the country to provide sufficient food for its people.

Speaking at the same event, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations Cooperation Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah extended sincere appreciation and thanks the government and the people of China.

She said the donation comes at a time when many Namibians are struggling to cope with floods, which have severely threatened food security.

“Your Excellency, Namibia is a country with unpredictable weather. For the past few years we were faced by severe drought and right now it is the flooding,” she said.

“Namibia has been experiencing severe drought for the past months that impacted mainly on the livelihood of 595,839 people living in the rural areas of the country,” she added.

Nandi-Ndaitwah further pointed out that the 4,000 metric tonnes of rice donated by the Chinese government last year benefited inhabitants in the Khomas, Erongo, Omaheke, Hardap, //Kharas, Otjozondjupa, Kunene, Oshana and the Zambezi regions.

Nandi-Ndaitwah said Namibia remains thankful for last year’s rice donation from China, as it reduced the originally required quantity from 83,363 metric tonnes to 79,363 metric.

Chinese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Zhang Ming arrived in Windhoek on Sunday on a three-day official visit.

Ming and the eight-member delegation accompanying him are here to discuss ways of strengthening bilateral economic and strategic ties with their Namibian counterparts.
On Monday, Zhang met President Hage Geingob at State House in a meeting that lasted almost two and a half hours.

Answering questions from the media shortly after their meeting with President Geingob, Zhang also confirmed that China’s former ambassador to Namibia, Qiu Xuejun, has had to return home due to ill health.

He gave assurances that the Chinese government would soon appoint a new ambassador to Namibia.

Ming also responded to a number of questions related to poaching, saying the Chinese government has strict policies that protect wildlife and that it will continue to support the Namibian government in the fight against poaching.

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