New Era (Windhoek)

14 March 2013

Namibia: Pohamba Opens Up to Chinese Journalists

Windhoek — China can do "a lot" in its trade with Namibia, President Hifikepunye Pohamba told the Chinese publication In Focus that publishes in-depth economic reports exclusively for the China Daily newspaper in Beijing. Namibia enjoys good relations with China in many fields and wants those ties to prosper under the principle of a "win-win" situation, the president said in the interview at State House yesterday.

Pohamba said that Namibia has a lot of products to offer the Chinese markets such as fish, beef and grapes, while Namibians could benefit from the import of textiles, tractors and machinery from China.

Currently, the country exports beef and fish mainly to the European markets but it is time the Chinese also benefit from these products, Pohamba said: "Once we open markets to China, we will intensify production," he added.

The president said Namibia has investment laws in place and that partnerships between both countries are welcome, as long as they are within the realm of Namibia's laws.

With any possible discovery of oil in Namibia, Pohamba said, Chinese companies could partner with Epangelo Mining, and in the same vein also expressed his satisfaction with the role the Chinese are playing in uranium exploration.

He said that as a big country with a big economy, China could do a lot and "we want them to do a lot", adding that there are many Chinese companies already operating in Namibia and "they can bring in more companies to join us in mining, tourism and agriculture. If those sectors are developed, we will have job creation for our country."

The president outlined some of the priorities of the National Development Plan 4 (NDP) as reducing poverty, creating employment, and education.

"A nation that has employed citizens defeats poverty," he said, adding that although Namibia faces difficult circumstances, it is only through education that people can develop themselves.

Pohamba hailed China's assistance in the development of infrastructure, saying: "We have many Chinese working companies working in the construction industry. We are happy with what they are doing."

In Focus journalists Maria Santos and Phil Smith are in the country to do a feature on Namibia's economic investment opportunities to stimulate trade with China. Smith said that this year they decided to run features on Namibia as it is important to give a comprehensive idea of Namibia's economy to the Chinese population that is now starting to travel outside China.

"People with money and power [in China] want to make sure there is potential in Namibia," said Santos, adding that they wanted to show that Namibia is developing well and has economic and political stability.

The two journalists are also planning to meet with Prime Minister Hage Geingob, and other ministers as well as different public and private organisations and companies in the country.

According to Smith, China Daily newspaper has about 2.5 million readers with a circulation of 400 000 copies printed daily.

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