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Namibia: Zambia and Namibia eye more trade

The Namibian, Windhoek

Namibia: Zambia And Namibia Eye More Trade

by Brigitte Weidlich, Windhoek

22 March 2007

Namibia and Zambia have signed two agreements - one on political consultation between their foreign affairs ministries and another on the establishment of a dry port facility at Walvis Bay.

Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, on a five-day state visit to Namibia, and his host, President Hifikepunye Pohamba, witnessed the signing ceremony at State House after official talks on Tuesday afternoon.

The dry port storage at Walvis Bay harbour will allow landlocked Zambia to store imported and exported goods.

Both countries have earmarked an agricultural joint venture at Sesheke near Katima Mulilo, where 5 000 hectares of crops will be planted.

"Zambia places agriculture as the number one priority sector to drive its economy forward and our Joint Technical Committee will investigate the possibility of setting up the Zambia-Namibia Agriculture Joint Venture (ZANAP)," Mwanawasa said at State House.

He expressed disappointment that several years had elapsed without the farming project taking off.

"Progress was, however, made with preliminary designs and costs for the required infrastructure and the cultivation will enhance food security, create employment, generate income and stimulate economic growth in both countries," the Zambian president said.

On investment and trade, Mwanawasa observed that trade between the two countries had increased in past years but stressed that there was a need for Zambia and Namibia to increase the volume.

President Pohamba said that the Trans-Caprivi Corridor, the Sesheke Bridge across the Zambezi and the tar road between Sesheke and Livingstone in Zambia, co-financed by both countries with some support from the EU, had increased the flow of traffic and goods.

Sharing the waters of the Zambezi River placed a responsibility on those countries.

"In order to achieve environmentally sound planning and management of water resources in the Zambezi basin, it is important that all states that share its waters harmonise and streamline efforts envisaged by the Zambezi Watercourse Commission, (ZamCom)," Pohamba emphasised.

"There is an urgent need to put a joint mechanism in place to manage and control the recurrent floods that have negatively affected all countries along the river basin," Pohamba added.

A Trade and Investment Committee to facilitate and co-ordinate trade between the two countries was set up under the general framework of the Zambia-Namibia Joint Permanent Commission.