Zambia and Namibia today signed two Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Political Consultation between Foreign Affairs Ministries of the two countries and the establishment of a dry port at Walvis Bay.
Mines Minister Kalombo Mwansa signed on behalf of Zambia while a Mr Marco Haufiku signed on behalf of the Namibian government.
President Mwanawasa and his Namibian Counterpart, Hifikepunye Pohamba witnessed the signing ceremony which took place at that country’s State house.
Others who attended the ceremony are Home Affairs Minister, Ronnie Shikapwasha, Transport and Communications Minister, Peter Daka, Gender and Development Minister Sara Saifwanda and senior Zambian government officials.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, President Mwanawasa commended the Namibian government for providing land to the Zambian government for the establishment of a dry port in Namibia.
On economic relations, Mr Mwanawasa said Zambia places agriculture as the number one priority sector to drive its economy forward, hence the establishment of the Joint Technical Committee to investigate the possibility of setting up the Zambia/Namibia Agriculture Joint Venture( ZANAP).
However, Mr Mwanawasa expressed disappointment at the number of years that had elapsed since the committee was established without the actual project taking root.
He said the two governments have spent more than US$100 million on feasibility studies than doing the actual work.
President Mwanawasa added that progress was however, being realised as preliminary designs and costs for the required infrastructure were ready to kick start the project.
He further said that once the project was implemented, it would enhance food security, create employment, generate income and stimulate economic growth in the two countries and the region as a whole.
He assured the Namibian government that the New Deal Government is commited towards the speedy and successful completion of the project and would do everything possible to facilitate the commencement of the project.
On Investment and Trade, Mr Mwanawasa observed that trade between the two countries had increased in past years adding that there was need for Zambia and Namibia to increase the volume of trade by putting more eforts towards facilitating trade.
He said the Joint Trade and Investment Committee to facilitate and coordinate cooperation in the area of trade between the two countries was set up under the general framework of the Zambia/Namibia Joint Permanent Commission (JPC).
And Mr Mwanawasa has commended the two governments for the eforts made under the general framework of the JPC of Cooperation towards the harmonisation of Customs and Immigration procedures, rules and regulations.
He said the cooperation made would lead to the improvement processes and systems in facilitating legitimate trade in the two countries and the region at large.
President Mwanawasa who is in Namibia on a four-day State visit leaves Windhoek for the resort town of Swakopmund tomorrow, to officiate at Namibia’s 17th independence anniversary at Swakopmund stadium.
The President will thereafter meet the Namibian Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Theo-Ben Gurirab and tour the Rossing Uranium Mine the following morning.
A tight schedule also awaits President Mwanawasa in the port city of Walvis Bay, the largest urban settlement after Windhoek.
The President’s agenda in Walvis Bay includes touring the Namibian Port Authority (Namport), Etale Fishing Company as well as meeting the Erongo Business Community.
Mr. Mwanawasa is also scheduled to tour the Walvis Bay Salt and Chemicals Ltd before returning to Windhoek where he will open the Zambia Trade Exhibition at Hotel Safari in Windhoek.
According to the programme, Mr Mwanawasa will conclude his visit to Namibia by laying a wreath at the Heroes’ Acre and meeting the Zambian community resident in Namibia.
He is expected back home on Saturday.