Informante | Thursday, 15 October 2009
Spain urges Namibia to join EU party
Written by Tirivangani Masawi
THE European Union has made an impassionate plea for Namibia to sign the interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) saying this will accelerate the country’s economic growth.
Spanish Ambassador to Namibia, Alfonso Barnuevo, whose country is the current European Union chair, said he is confident Namibia will benefit immensely in signing the interim EPA.
Ambassador Barnuevo’s comments made during the Spanish National Day in Windhoek this week, come in the wake of Namibia tip-toeing on the signing of the EPA viewed as a threat to regional integration by most southern African countries.
However, some countries like Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe have signed the Interim EPA agreement despite widespread condemnation from the region’s biggest economy, South Africa.
“I believe that it is worth mentioning that Spain is the fourth best client of Namibia when it comes to export value and it is important for the Spanish government to continue working closely with its Namibian counterparts,” said Barnuevo.
There has also been regional and intellectual pressure for most southern African countries to snub the economic agreement which is viewed as an infringement on the region’s free trade agreements under the auspices of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU).
The Spanish Ambassador added that his country has extended aid to Namibia ranging between 1.8 million Euros to 10 million Euros in 2008 and will continue to consolidate it.
He also said Namibia has benefited from other donor aid lines from the Spanish government including US$14 million awarded under the auspices of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) achievement Fund.
Ambassador Barnuevo said Namibia has for the past 19 years been the torch bearer of political and economic success in Africa with comprehensive eco-social and political goals enshrined in the country’s Vision 2030.
The ambassador also expressed optimism that the forthcoming National Assembly and Presidential elections will reinforce the country’s image.
He commended the diplomatic relations between the two countries which have been strengthened by the recent visit to Spain by the Ministers of Fisheries and Marine Resources and Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Dr Abraham Iyambo and John Mutorwa respectively.
“The construction of the Namibian nation has been a model for the international community with its free and democratic elections,” said Barnuevo.
Five of the 15 SADC countries are signatories to SACU a regional trade board aimed at promoting free trade zones in the southern African region.
Spain is one of the largest consumers of Namibia’s aquaculture products bringing in millions of the green buck annually.