Africa: Namibia to Strengthen Diplomatic Relationship With Nigeria

9 October 2019

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, has assured the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Geofrey Onyeama, that Namibia remains committed to work with Nigeria.

This was said during the meeting held in Windhoek on Monday where she noted Onyeama's presence is an honour and an affirmation of the excellent relationship between the two countries.

Nandi-Ndaitwah said Namibia and Nigeria's bilateral relations and cooperation are informed and guided first and foremost by the principled support and assistance rendered to the people of Namibia during the days of Namibia's struggle for independence.

She added that Namibia and Nigeria's relations are firmly rooted in history.

"We have realised our right to self-determination through the highest sacrifices of our people but complemented by the provision of moral, technical, logistical and financial assistance. Among others, the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria annually allocated money to the Swapo operation, mainly for running the Swapo office in Lagos," said Nandi-Ndaitwah.

She added that Nigeria had hosted hundreds of young Namibians who were pursuing secondary and tertiary education in various federal states who are now senior managers, medical doctors, community leaders and senior civil servants.

Nandi-Ndaitwah added that the bond of friendship also continued when members of the Nigerian Defence Force become part of the United Nations Transitional Assistance Group (UNTAG) in Namibia, which oversaw the country's immediate run-up to independence.

"Our relations were further enhanced by the establishment of diplomatic relations immediately after Namibia's independence on 21 March 1990," she said.

Nandi-Ndaitwah highlighted that the high level visits and the establishment of the Joint Commission of Cooperation between the two countries, including the MoU on political and diplomatic consultations signed in 2010, have resulted in several agreements being signed and implemented.

Furthermore, she indicated that there remains immense potential in areas such as tourism and transport infrastructure, blue economy, agriculture in order to enhance trade and investment.

"I am pleased to note that that our trade relations are gradually improving, for example, increase of salt export from Namibia to Nigeria, growing number of Nigerian companies in charcoal production and the discussion of IT services which is at a final stage of finalisation between the two countries." She also told the meeting that several outstanding agreements are expected to be finalised during the next session of the Namibia-Nigeria Joint Commission for Cooperation.

In the same vein, Nandi-Ndaitwah congratulated the Federal Republic of Nigeria for presiding over the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly in the person of Professor Tjijani Muhammad Bande, while encouraging him to spearhead collective efforts in revitalising the work of the Assembly. She also extended heartfelt appreciation to Nigeria for having selected one of Namibia's ambassadors to form part of the cabinet of the president of the 74th Session of the General Assembly.

She furthermore extended Namibia's condolences to the government, families and people of Nigeria on the passing on of former high commissioner of Nigeria to Namibia, Edward Aina, whom she described as not just the first high commissioner of Nigeria to Namibia, but also a pillar for Swapo during his tenure at the OAU Liberation Committee in Dar Es Salaam. In the same vein she extended condolences on the passing away of the immediate former high commissioner of Nigeria to Namibia, Nathaniel Olorenfemi.

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