Windhoek — The second session of the Namibia-Tanzania Joint Commission for Cooperation held last week, discussed several bilateral issues with particular emphasis on trade and country-to-country investment.
The session started from 29 November and ended on Monday in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Little has come from the Joint Permanent Commission for Cooperation's agreements between the two countries since its establishment in 1999.
The joint commission's agreements are based on a bilateral agreement signed between Namibia and Tanzania, which provides a platform for the two countries to cooperate in specifically agriculture, trade and industry, tourism, health, education, human resource development, sports and culture among others.
Trade between Namibia and Tanzania is pedestrian because for the past five years since 2014 business between the two countries has not progressed so well.
It is approximately just TZS 59.55 billion, which is less than US$25 million [about N$350 million].
During his visit to Namibia early this year, Tanzania President John Magufuli said he was informed there are only two Namibian investments registered at the Tanzanian Investment Centre to the value of US$12.96 million (about N$182 million), employing 128 people.
The joint commission comes after a state visit to the Republic of Namibia by Magufuli, on the invitation of President Hage Geingob in May.
During that visit, the two heads of state and government directed the convening of the Namibia-Tanzania Joint Commission for Cooperation.
The commission also reviewed implementation of the previous decisions and agreements and welcomed progress made in the bilateral cooperation, particularly in the areas of agriculture, water and rural development, higher education, health, fisheries and aquaculture.
This was revealed by international relations executive director Selma Ashipala-Musavyi, who also said the second session of the Namibia-Tanzania Joint Commission also emphasised the historical fraternal relations and growing bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
In consolidating bilateral relations and deepening bilateral cooperation, she noted the commission agreed to expand cooperation in the areas of diplomacy and security, immigration, gender equality, youth development, trade and investment, transport, aviation, mining and energy, environment and natural resource management.
"The commission appreciated the ongoing efforts to promote cooperation between the private sectors in both countries, in order to harness opportunities from the SADC regional integration and the African Continental Free Trade Area," Ashipala-Musavyi maintained.
AfCFTA officially came into force on 30 May 2019 and effectively establishes a single continental market for goods and services.
This translates into a single market of goods and services for US$1.2 billion with an aggregate gross domestic product (GDP) exceeding US$2 trillion (over N$30 trillion).
UNCTAD, the trade body of the United Nations, predicts that reducing intra-African tariffs under AfCFTA "could bring US$3.6 billion (more than N$54 billion) in welfare gains to the continent through a boost in production and cheaper goods."
In 2017, Namibia's imports from within the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) accounted for 90.4 percent of all African imports while imports from non-Sacu Southern African Development Community (Sadc) member states accounted for an additional 7.7 percent of all of Namibia's imports from Africa.
The session was co-chaired by Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, and Professor Palamagamba John Aidan Mwaluko Kabudi, Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation of the United Republic of Tanzania.
The two ministers signed three memoranda of understanding in the areas of tourism; youth development and culture; and arts and sports.
During the commission, the United Republic of Tanzania announced the opening of its high commission in Windhoek, this month.
The commission agreed to convene its third session in Windhoek in 2021, to be preceded by a midterm review in 2020.
The two ministers renewed their commitment to ensure full implementation of bilateral agreements by establishing a time-bound monitoring and evaluation mechanism.