STRONGER bilateral cooperation between Namibia and Guinea should serve as a building block that will bring the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) closer together.
The president of Namibia, Dr. Hage Geingob, welcomed the President of Guinea, Professor Alpha Condé, in the country at the start of an official two-day long state visit where the two countries signed three agreements aimed at expanding bilateral cooperation.
The agreements pertain to cooperation in the agricultural, tourism and mining sectors.
“This type of cooperation is crucial in advancing our quest to realise the aspirations of Agenda 2063 and continental integration we all yearn for,” Geingob said during his address.
The two countries also pledged to form joint working committees that would serve to implement the agreements reached.
When President Geingob was on an official state visit to Guinea during September last year, the two countries signed four agreements which included the Framework Agreement for Cooperation, the Agreement on the Establishment of a Joint Commission, a Memorandum of Understanding on Political and Diplomatic Cooperation and an MoU on reciprocal exemptions of visas for holders of diplomatic and official passports.
President Geingob’s welcoming address reads as follows:
I am pleased to welcome Your Excellency, Dear Brother and your delegation to the Republic of Namibia.
We fondly recall and appreciate the warm reception and hospitality accorded to us during my State Visit to Guinea in September 2018. It is heart-warming that you have accepted to pay a reciprocal state visit to Namibia, as per our agreement in Conakry.
Your visit here today, is a stepping stone for future cooperation between Namibia and Guinea, as we are now in the process of elevating our existing historical and political relations to higher heights, through increased bilateral exchanges in various strategic economic sectors such as trade, investment, tourism, agriculture and mining to name a few.
Our bilateral cooperation should serve as a building block that will bring SADC and ECOWAS closer together.
This type of cooperation is crucial in advancing our quest to realize the aspirations of Agenda 2063 and continental integration we all yearn for.
In this regard, it is my conviction that our bilateral relations will always be characterized by a common vision and a desire to strengthen political, economic, cultural and social cooperation.
It therefore pleases me that we hosted and successfully concluded the Inaugural Session of the Namibia- Guinea Joint Commission of Cooperation (JCC) yesterday. The JCC platform offers not only an orderly conduct of our bilateral relations, but is equally a unique opportunity for Namibia and Guinea to design projects that will help achieve sustainable economic growth.
We need to create jobs, especially for our youth. Hence as a priority, let’s all work towards improving the business environment, promoting investments and supporting the development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
It is my belief that the Agreed Minutes of the JCC will be implemented in the shortest possible time so that our meetings translate into creating a difference in the lives of the people who have placed their trust in us.
Most of our neighbors are land-locked countries, therefore, cooperation between our ports will greatly serve as transmission belt for import and exports of commodities between our countries, Regional Economic
Communities (RECs) and in turn contribute towards the realization of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) and Agenda 2063, which speaks to the Africa we want.
In this regard, we welcome the expressed interest of the Conakry Port Management in the areas of Development and management of dry ports. We believe that through effective use of our ports, our countries will be in position to trade more closely with each other, and in the process ensure that there is an interface between our sub- regions for the mutual benefit of not only our countries, but, Africa at large.
Your Excellency, during our official talks in 2018, you expressed interest in cooperating in areas of legislation, geological research, capacity building, value addition, communication skills in English (and why not in French for us who are not French speakers), and the energy sector including rural electrification and renewable energies. We intend to initiate win- win partnerships and collaboration through the involvement of the public and private sector stakeholders in our countries.
It is our wish to expand our cooperation in the areas of manufacturing, value-addition and agro-processing. In this regard, our countries should work together in order to leverage the economic potential in these areas.
In order to diversify our economies, there is a need for us to develop value chains that are based on raw materials available in our countries. I therefore propose that investments be identified and pursued through the exchange of business missions, networking activities involving private sector representatives from both countries.
Stronger bilateral co-operation will create resilience for our economies to withstand exogenous pressures brought about by external factors such as declining/falling global commodity prices, fluctuating currencies, as well as natural disasters such as droughts and floods, which have affected the entire SADC Region.
With the onset of climate change, these challenges are likely to worsen and it is thus imperative for us, and for all African countries, to realign our national development plans and strategies to overcome the negative impacts of such disasters.
Furthermore, we need to work together to combat the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality in our countries.
In conclusion, I am confident that Your Excellency’s visit to Namibia will contribute to the strengthening of our relations, which are built on a solid foundation of Pan African solidarity. As we move forward, I envision Namibia and Guinea, as solid partners in the second phase of Africa’s struggle – that of economic emancipation.