New blueprint for bilateral relations

11 November 2019 | International

Following the drawing up of a new blueprint for bilateral relations between Namibia and China the two countries' relations have entered a new era of comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.

This was said by China's deputy prime minister Sun Chunlan who paid a state visit to President Hage Geingob on Friday.

During the visit Chunlan informed Geingob that as a senior African politician he has made important contribution to the growth of China-Africa relations.

She also emphasised that the fact that Geingob has met with Chinese president Xi Jinping twice in just six months shows how close Namibia and China are.

“During these meetings, you and President Xi Jinpin agreed to elevate bilateral relations to a comprehensive and strategic partnership of cooperation. You have also jointly witnessed the signing of Belt and Road Cooperation documents. I would say that you and president Xi jointly drew up a new blueprint for bilateral relations,” she said.

Geingob informed Chunlan that China remains one of the Namibia's largest export markets and is amongst its top five trading partners.

He added that that the Husab and Rössing Uranium Mines as well the expansion of the Walvis Bay port were some of the strategic Chinese engagements.

According to him Namibia views China as an important partner in its quest for socio-economic advancement and shared prosperity.

“Therefore, we look forward to attracting additional Chinese investments in our sectors that are critical to our growth and development,” said Geingob.

During this visit Geingob welcomed Chunlan to Namibia and said the Namibian government appreciates it that Sun decided to include Namibia as one of the countries to visit during her trip to Africa.

He also reminded her that Namibia has ratified the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and is convinced that this will contribute to the industrialisation of the continent.

“It will sustain economic growth on the African continent and coupled with the Belt and Road Initiative, China and Africa will cease these opportunities to jointly advance our friendship and developmental aspirations,” he said.

Geingob added that the two nations' bilateral collaboration includes various social economic development areas such as trade, infrastructure development and the implementation of the FOCAC programmes in Namibia.

During the Focac conference, China and Africa agreed to set up joint follow-up mechanisms to conduct regular evaluations on the implementation of agreed actions.



Complex

A recent IPPR paper stated that Namibia's government engagement with China is extensive, overtly friendly and, it can be argued, lacking in caution, critical reflection or strategy.

The paper was done by IPPR researchers Dietrich Rammel and Rakkel Andreas and is titled 'Risks and Rewards: Making Sense of Namibia-China Relations'.

The two researchers pointed out that it is important to note that China defines development aid differently than accepted international standards.

“It is thus understandable that concern has been growing in recent years over the debt status of developing nations and China's role. Indeed, China has been accused of engaging in “debt-trap diplomacy” or using overly generous loans to extract specific economic, diplomatic and political concessions from the respective debtor country,” the paper states.

The paper further points out that a sizeable proportion of Africa's external debt is owed to international financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB).

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JEMIMA BEUKES

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