Nam, Zim sign trade agreements

Harare – Zimbabwe and Namibia yesterday signed three agreements at the close of the fifth session of the Joint Permanent Commission meant to strengthen trade, investment and ties between the two countries. The agreements include the bilateral air services agreement, amendments to the 1992 preferential trade agreement and a Memorandum of Understanding on forestry management.
Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube, signed the amendments to the preferential trade agreement on behalf of Zimbabwe. Transport, Communication  Infrastructure Development Minister Nicholas Goche and Environmental and Natural Resources Management Minister Francis Nhema, signed bilateral air services agreement and MoU on forestry management respectively.
 In a communique released at the end of the session, the two countries called on the need to establish a joint business forum by business organisations. “In the area of trade, the two parties discussed measures to reduce the cost of doing business between their enterprise sectors. In this regard the two sides signed amendments to the 1992 preferential trade agreement.
The two countries also agreed to expeditiously conclude a MoU between their customs authorities to facilitate the smooth implementation of preferential trade agreement,” reads part of the communique. Namibia also agreed to facilitate the establishment of retail outlets by Zimbabwean firms in the country. “The parties noted the need to promote increased trade and investment between the two countries and undertook to engage their respective business associations with a view to establishing a joint business forum and the conclusion of MoU between the Zimbabwe Business Council and Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Namibia agreed to facilitate the establishment of retail outlets in Namibia by Zimbabwe,” the two Sadc nations said in the communique.
 Zimbabwe also welcomed Namibia’s offer of Dry Port Facilities at Walvis Bay and now awaits the signing of the lease agreement before the country can fully utilise the facility. On agriculture, the two nations recognised the need to increase cooperation in the area to reduce susceptibility to droughts and other disasters. “Recognising the importance of agriculture to the economies, the two countries agreed to ensure food security for their people.
The two parties agreed to conclude and sign a MoU on agricultural cooperation to cover inter alia, animal and plant health, production, research, food safety, capacity building, coordinated production and joint marketing, agriculture extension services, food processing, food reserve facilities, irrigation and agricultural mechanisation,” the communique reads. In his closing remarks, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said the implementation should be done speedily. “I am quite confident that the implementation is undertaken in the same spirit of expeditiousness as portrayed in this joint commission. The idea of the joint commission is to bring our people closer and closer together,” he said.
Namibia through its power utility, Nam Power provided funding for the refurbishment of Hwange Power Station to improve electricity generation. Namibian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marco Hausiku, who co-chaired the session with Minister Mumbengegwi, said his country would continue supporting Zimbabwe and push for greater regional and African integration. “Namibia will always be together with us in all our endeavours in trying to improve the livelihoods of our people, in trying to forge regional integration and in trying to improve trade and investment in our region,” he said.

October 2009
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