WINDHOEK – The Deputy Prime Minister, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, has urged regional economic communities such as SADC and ECOWAS to fast-track the ongoing regional efforts towards operationalisation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTFA).
Nandi-Ndaitwah made the call during the opening of the inaugural Joint Commission of Cooperation (JCC) between Namibia and Senegal in Dakar, Senegal yesterday.
Namibia and Senegal are among the 49 African countries that have to date signed the AfCTFA.
AfCTFA aims at facilitating a single market for goods and services on the continent.
Nandi-Ndaitwah, who doubles as the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, said Namibia hopes that AfCTFA ratification will move at a pace to allow it to be operationalised.
Furthermore, with the inauguration of the Joint Commission on Cooperation, Nandi-Ndaitwah said, Namibia is not only strengthening, deepening and broadening bilateral relations between Senegal and Namibia, but is also taking concrete steps towards the achievement of shared goals and aspirations.
“Small as it might be, our bilateral cooperation is a building block that will bring the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) closer together, because, we in Namibia, believe that if we are to realise the aspirations of Agenda 2063 and the African integration we all yearn for, Africa must increasingly trade with itself,” she said.
Therefore, she said, at continental level, “we should do our part to domesticate and strongly pursue the implementation of AU Agenda 2063. In this way, we will contribute to the efforts aimed at fast-tracking socio-economic development, integration and cohesion of our continent.”
Nandi-Ndaitwah said the General Cooperation Framework Agreement between the two countries signed by their heads of state in 2003 and the successive and reciprocal state visits by the heads of state in 2013 and 2014, respectively, speak to the importance of bilateral relations and cooperation.
“I hope you agree with me that we are today complying with the wishes of the highest political authorities of our two countries, which represents the aspirations of our people,” she said.
Therefore, she said, the MoUs are to put into effect what the two heads of state agreed to during the state visit to Senegal by then President Hifikepunye Pohamba in April 2014.