12 May 2017

Namibia: Sugar, Fish to Kickstart Nam-Swazi Trade

Windhoek — The Kingdom of Swaziland is interested in supplying sugar to Namibia and would like to import Namibian fish for consumption by the Swazi people.

These were two of the items that emanated from discussions between the visiting delegation from the Kingdom of Swaziland, led by King Mswati III, which met with President Hage Geingob at State House yesterday to discuss bilateral issues, specifically on trade and industrialisation.

"We have sugar in Swaziland, you need sugar in Namibia. You have fish in Namibia and we need fish in Swaziland, so we were looking at how we can enhance trade between our two countries,"said Swazi Minister of Foreign Affairs Chief Mgwagwa Gamedze after discussions at State House that included the ministers of finance, trade and foreign affairs of both countries.

According to Dr John Steytler, economic advisor to President Geingob, the volume of trade between Namibia and Swaziland is minimal. "Because the level of trade between the two countries is extremely minimal, a huge opportunity exists for growth in this area," he said.

In 2014, the two countries commenced with drafting memoranda of understanding and yesterday's meeting investigated how these MOUs can facilitate and increase trade. The meeting also discussed the logistics of how goods can be transported between the countries, using either the Port of Walvis Bay, the road networks or the railway.

Gamedze added that technocrats are investigating the various aspects of the MOUs and said signing was expected to take place very soon. "Once all the technocrats are done we expect the MOUs to be signed as quickly as possible," he said.

Yesterday's meeting also resulted in the drafting of MOUs in the areas of trade, particularly in the area of industrialisation, as both the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have standing policies in this area.

King Mswati, who is the current chairman of SACU, yesterday also visited the SACU headquarters, making him the first sitting chair of the organisation to do so.

"We have ongoing programmes within SACU, with which we have made tremendous progress and the commitment is there for all member states to benefit from these," Mswati said during his visit to the SACU headquarters.

Mswati and his delegation arrived in Namibia on Wednesday and are expected to depart today.


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