Windhoek — There has been tremendous growth in country-to-country trade between Namibia and China.
In 2009, trade between the two countries reached US$600 million compared to the US$75 million in imports and exports recorded in 2003.
Speaking on Thursday night, Namibia's Information and Broadcasting Minister Joel Kaapanda said: "Trade volumes between our two countries have improved significantly and bilateral cooperation in areas such as our economies, trade, education, military and health is on the rise.
"By the end of 2009, the value of trade between Namibia and China reached US$600 million compared to US$75 million of the year 2003."
"Although the volume of trade has increased, we still need to do more to improve the living standards of our people. I therefore wish to once again invite the Chinese business community to come and invest in various sectors of our economy," he said.
Kaapanda was speaking during the reception hosted by Chinese Ambassador to Namibia, Wei Ruixing, to mark the 61st Anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
Kaapanda said there is a need to take effective measures to promote bilateral cooperation in mining, agriculture and tourism.
He said he was gratified by the fact that once China and Namibia sign the agreement on Animal Health and Quarantine, it would enable Namibian agricultural products, such as beef and fish, to enter the lucrative Chinese market.
"In the last decade, China-Africa relations have witnessed a substantial development. In that regard, Namibia will continue to utilize the platform created by the Forum on China - Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), to promote dialogue between Africa and China on matters of mutual concern," stated the information minister.
He said several high-level visits have taken place between the two countries, namely, the visit to Namibia in March of Jia Qinglin, Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, and Zhai Jun, the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China, who came to Namibia for diplomatic consultation.
Also, former president Dr Sam Nujoma attended the opening of the Shanghai World Expo, while in August the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Hage Geingob, was delegated to officiate at Namibia Day at the Shanghai Expo.
On his part, Chinese Ambassador to Namibia, Wei Ruixing, said October 1, 2010, marked the 61st Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China.
"Sixty-one years are a short while in Chinese history, let alone the long process of human history, but the past sixty-one years were quite unusual for the Chinese people," narrated the newly accredited Chinese Ambassador to Namibia.
He said the past 61 years "have witnessed earthshaking changes in China, during which the Chinese people have successfully transformed a poor, backward, semi-colonial and semi-feudal old China into a new one, which has begun to thrive and flourish".
He said 2010 is the final year of China's 11th Five-Year Plan that has witnessed generally smooth and sound economic and social development amidst a backdrop of a slow recovery of the world economy.
"In the first half of this year, China's national economy was growing at a relatively fast and steady rate, with total GDP reaching about US$2.6 trillion, an increase of 11.1 percent over the corresponding period of last year," he said.
China's total volume of foreign trade from January to July recorded US$1.6 trillion, up by 40 percent, while its actual utilization of foreign direct investment (FDI) from January to July stood at about US$60 billion, up by 21 percent.
On top of these economic gains, China's social security system, covering both rural and urban areas, has been established and is being increased gradually.
On the relationship between the two countries, he remarked: "Our bilateral trade and economic cooperation has expanded both in scope and depth," adding that the total volume of trade between the two countries for the first half of this year "recorded US$371 million, an increase of about 20 percent".
"More and more reliable Chinese enterprises have been making investments in Namibia, with a total amount of about US$125 million, creating thousands of jobs for Namibian people," said the ambassador.
Apart from bilateral trade between the two countries, China and Namibia continue to have numerous exchanges and cooperate well in the fields of culture, education, health, science, technology and the military.