Iranian Ambassador to Namibia Vahid Karimi has highlighted Iran’s remarkable road to prosperity since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that culminated in wave upon wave of American-led sanctions.
Karimi spoke at an event in Windhoek attended by diplomats and officials from the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation to mark the Islamic Revolution that replaced Iran’s last monarchy, the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, with Iran founder Ayatollah Khomeini.
Despite the harsh sanctions orchestrated by various American administrations, the Persian Gulf powerhouse, with its population of 82 million people, “is the 25th largest economy in the world by purchasing power parity (PPP)”, stated Karimi.
Iran, he noted, is a major energy producer in the Middle East that holds 10 percent of the world’s oil reserves and is the second largest oil producer. It is furthermore endowed with 15 percent of proven reserves of natural gas and has the second largest reserves of the global total of natural gas.
The economic giant has strong economic fundamentals, a well-educated workforce, well-developed infrastructure with seven free-trade industrial zones and 30 special economic zones, “making it less dependent on oil”, said Karimi.
Iran has one of the lowest levels of external debt in the world, which makes it resistant to global economic shocks and aftershocks.
Following a deal signed in July 2015 between Iran and global powers after a watchdog confirmed it had complied with requests to halt developing nuclear weapons, Tehran has hosted a flurry of trade delegations and signed new contracts to boost cooperation and various opportunities in tourism, transportation, technology, foodstuffs, aviation and machinery, said the ambassador.
Global financial services firm Morgan Stanley has described Iran as the next biggest investment attraction for international investors, Karimi told fellow diplomats.
Regardless of its oil and gas sectors, Iran has witnessed an extraordinary expansion and investment potential in petrochemicals, mines, industry, agriculture and engineering service sectors, he said, adding: “It is worth mentioning that the government’s continued privatization drive opened new investment and trade opportunities for Iran, in both the oil and non-oil sectors.”
Since assuming power in 2013 the administration of President Hassan Rouhani has ridden out the recession and presided over a growth rate of four percent in 2017.
To underline his country’s steady economic progress, Karimi elaborated that its trade volumes with African countries grew by 23 percent.
According to the European Commission, the E.U. exported over €8.2 billion worth of goods to Iran in 2017, up 27.8 percent year-on-year.
During the same period, the European bloc imported about €5.5 billion worth of goods from Iran, up by 344.8 percent year-on-year.
Iranian airlines will spend billions of dollars to acquire 323 (with the option of adding 50 more) new passenger jets, some of them from Boeing.
Addressing her last engagement as Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maureen Hinda said the two countries “have longstanding and excellent bilateral relations dating back to the years of the liberation struggle for the freedom and independence of Namibia”.
She said Iran was one of the steadfast supporters of Namibians’ quest for independence and self-determination.
She commended Karimi for “being so active in terms of strengthening our bilateral relations for the mutual benefit of the peoples of our two countries”, adding that the visits by Iranian investors will boost economic cooperation.