Swaziland, Namibia trade non existent

By Timo Shihepo

Windhoek – Swaziland and Namibia having missing out on potential trade opportunities and other business ventures mainly because both have struggled to implement trade memorandum of understandings (MoUs) drafted four years ago.

The two southern African countries drafted several MoUs in 2014 but fast forward 2017 and no agreement has been signed.  The two countries are now looking at taking advantage of the SACU summit next month, in an attempt to the said agreements through.

The agreements include the exchange of airhostess, trading of sugar from Swaziland to Namibia and the use of Namibia’s Walvis Bay port by Swaziland. The two countries are particularly keen on the areas of industrialisation in line with the SADC and SACU industrialisation policies.

Swaziland Minister of Finance, Martin Dlamini told The Southern Times last week that there is a need to start implementing what was initiated to strengthen the economic relations between the two countries and within SACU.     

Dlamini said this immediately after coming out of a meeting, which consisted of several Swaziland and Namibian ministers at Namibia’s state house. Dlamini accompanied Swaziland’s King Mswati III, during the King’s official visit to the SACU head office in Namibia, last week.

He said there is a need to focus on industrialisation because it is the backbone of developing countries. “I am hoping that we sign agreements before the SACU summit because there are things that need to be pushed so that the member countries have synergy within SACU.”

In the meeting, Swaziland’s Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation Minister Mgwagwa Gamedze said the two set of ministers were discussing how take the MoUs forward. He said their principles have mandated all these ministries to come together and see how they do industrialisation in their respective countries.

“We have so many products that we can trade amongst our countries. We have sugar in Swaziland, they need sugar in Namibia, Namibia has fish and Swaziland needs fish. We were looking at how we can enhance trade between the two counties,” he said.

Gamedze then said he was disappointed by the fact that the MoUs have not been signed yet despite having been drafted in 2014. He added that signing these MoUs will make trade easier between the countries.

“We are also looking at logistics on how we will transport goods between Swaziland and Namibia.

“Namibia has port close by and we have the rail in Swaziland. We can both utilise that when transporting goods.”

Namibia’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah also said she would like to see the MoUs being implemented.

“There have been several agreements at the highest level between Namibia and Swaziland but I am disappointed that most of them have not been implemented yet. I ask all the ministries from both sides responsible for these agreements to implement them.”

May 2017
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