Namibia and Cuba strengthen economic ties
> Magreth Nunuhe
Windhoek – Namibia cemented its economic relations with Cuba last week when the two countries established a joint working group to promote and strengthen trade and commercial cooperation.
With the establishment of the Namibia-Cuba Joint Working Group (JWG), the two countries aim to promote and build cooperation between them.
On top of the list is accelerating three projects in the manufacturing sector, which are establishing a pharmaceutical plant in Namibia, capacity building and renewable energy.
The Namibian Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Peya Mushelenga said following the visit to Namibia by Cuban Vice-Minister of Trade and Foreign Investment, Ileana Nuñez Mordoche, Windhoek would be pursuing value addition in the manufacturing sector to increase the country’s manufacturing capability and develop renewable energy given the energy deficit in the country.
“We therefore will work with our Cuban counterparts to source Cuban technological expertise in efforts to industrialise and bring skills to the manufacturing sector,” Mushelenga said.
Mordoche was on a five-day visit to Namibia from October 20-25, during which she paid a courtesy call on the President Hage Geingob, the Deputy Minister of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development, Piet van der Walt, the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) and visited meat producer Hartlief and Namibia Breweries.
The Cuban Vice-Minister’s visit to Namibia followed President Geingob’s visit to the South American country last month.
In addition to the economic cooperation, the two countries have also agreed to send 750 Namibian students to Cuba over the next three years to study medicine, with the first group expected to depart at the end of November 2015.
Cuban-Namibian relations date back to the Namibian struggle for independence when Cuba politically, militarily and diplomatically supported the Namibian liberation movement and now ruling party, SWAPO against apartheid South Africa.
Since independence, Namibia and Cuba have held joint meetings for economic, scientific-technical and commercial cooperation. In 2005, it was reported that 1,460 Cuban professionals had worked in Namibia.