President Hage Geingob yesterday informed his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping of Namibia's satisfaction with progress in the bilateral relationship since the African nation's elevation to a status of comprehensive strategic partner of the Asian economic giant.
Namibia's relation with China was elevated to that level in March after President Geingob's state visit to Beijing.
Geingob made his satisfaction known during bilateral talks with President Xi at the Great Hall of the People in China yesterday.
"We are already reaping benefits from this elevated relationship in the form of the Hosea Kutako Airport upgrading project. We appreciate the rapid progress of implementation regarding this project, including the five year grace period offered by the People's Republic of China," Geingob said.
He also said that a Bilateral Air Service Agreement was initialed, and that there was a need to conclude the agreement in light of the enormous potential it held for tourism in Namibia.
Emphasising on the importance of win-win cooperation and opportunities in the Belt and Road Initiative, Geingob stressed that infrastructure connectivity, investment, market access, value addition and trade were critical for building a partnership based on growth and development.
He also lauded the space tracking, telemetry and command Station based in Swakopmund as playing a crucial role in China's space programme.
The Namibian President further expressed the view that construction of the ground station within the framework of the telemetry agreement should be accelerated, holding tangible benefits for Namibia.
As chairman of SADC, President Geingob informed his Chinese counterpart that Namibia would seek to fast-track infrastructure development and youth empowerment as core issues on the regional agenda.
Geingob also updated Xi on developments in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar and the Kingdom of Lesotho. In that vein, he called on China to play a constructive role in matters of peace and security.
The two leaders concluded bilateral talks with the witnessing of the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Namibia and China on "Cooperation within the Framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Maritime Silk Road Initiative".
During the course of the day, several key Chinese business leaders paid courtesy visits on President Geingob, where the President encouraged that they move away from a contractor approach by focusing on investments in order to create sustainable employment opportunities and economic growth in Namibia. Geingob concluded the day with a bilateral meeting in the evening with the chairman of the National People's Congress, Li Zhanshu. Geingob and Li discussed cooperation between Namibia and China, and touched on the land question, tourism, infrastructure and the need for tangible benefits in Namibia-China relations.
The President will deliver a statement today on the occasion of the FOCAC high-level dialogue between Chinese and African leaders, including business representatives.