Namibia, Angola Discuss Water Use

Villagers wash their clothes in the Okavango River outside Rundu (file photo).

The governments of Namibia and Angola will meet this week to discuss the sustainable use and management of rivers shared by the two countries.

This was announced in a media statement by the executive director of international relations, Selma Ashipala-Musavyi yesterday.

She said the fifth session of the Namibia-Angola Joint Commission of Cooperation will be held between 10 to 14 July 2019 at a local hotel, and will be hosted by international relations minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah and the external relations minister of Angola, Manuel Augusto Domingos.

According to the statement, the two countries will also discuss regional and international problems both countries face.

While tackling problems on shared water usage, the commission will discuss issues such as trade and investment, education, health, environment, tourism, energy, fisheries and cross-border trade because these sectors affect the lives of people in the two countries.

"The fifth session is also taking place against the backdrop of severe drought in the region, with both countries having declared national disaster emergencies," Ashipala-Musavyi said.

She added that the two countries will strengthen their relationship by establishing a bi-national commission to be co-chaired by their respective presidents.

Ashipala-Musavyi noted that the Cuvelai River Basin Commission (Cuvecom) and Okavango River Basin Water Commission (Okacom) will promote the sustainable development and efficient management of water resources along the common border.

"It is imperative for both countries to cooperate on the sustainable usage and management of our shared water resources, particularly within the framework of the Cuvecom and Okacom," she said.

There have been public calls for Namibia to draw water from the Okavango River to supply the country's central region. The Namibian reported in 2016 that NamWater engineering manager Kuiri Tjipangandjara said drawing water from the Okavango River for central Namibia is a more feasible option than desalination.

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