Newly accredited Zambian High Commissioner to Namibia Stella Libongani has reiterated that the diplomatic relations between her country and Namibia are historical, dating back to the pre-independence period when Zambia hosted thousands of Swapo cadres and other Namibian exiles.
Speaking at a reception held in her honour last Friday evening by the Zambian High Commission at a conference centre in Windhoek, Mrs. Libongani the former Zambian police chief, said: “The scope of our relations has expanded over the years to the benefit of our two countries.”
Mrs. Libongani, who handed over her letters of credentials to President Hage Geingob last week, underscored what she said was “the good gesture by Namibia” in offering Zambia – a landlocked country – access to the sea, through the Zambian Dry Port Facility in Walvis Bay.
“There are high expectations from my government and people of Zambia that the excellent relations that we enjoy are cemented. To this effect, it is Zambia’s resolve to address outstanding matters so as to preserve the sound relations,” said the Zambian high commissioner.
In the same vein, she felt it was imperative the Zambian community at large remains patriotic to their motherland and continue to raise high the Zambian flag through exemplary conduct.
Zambia, she noted, remains committed to enhancing cooperation with all members of the international community at bilateral and multilateral levels and “in this regard the Zambian mission in Namibia is committed to fostering, among other things, social and economic development on the African continent and beyond for the benefit of all.”
In terms of development, Mrs. Libongani said the Zambian government has continued to construct new roads across Africa’s second largest copper producing country, as well as provide resources in priority sectors, such as health and tertiary education.
Acting deputy permanent secretary in the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation Morven Luswenyo echoed her sentiments, saying: “Our two countries share friendly and neighbourly relations dating back to Namibia’s pre-independence period.”
He further noted that since November 26, 1990 when Namibia established diplomatic relations with Zambia “the bilateral cooperation between our two countries has increased and expanded. To mention a few areas of success: there are currently about 213 Namibian students studying at different universities in Zambia”.
Namibia and Zambia, Mrr. Luswenyo said, also signed a power purchase agreement on September 16, 2009 through which Zambia provides power to Namibia.
Another area of bilateral cooperation is in aviation, as Air Namibia operates three weekly flights to Zambia.
The Zambian Dry Port Facility at Walvis Bay is operational.
Namibia also exports a significant amount of fish to Zambia.
The Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Development Corridor, which aims to facilitate cross-border trade and transit-transport cooperation among Namibia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia remains an important project to Namibia, Luswenyo said.
The event was attended by other diplomats, notable among them Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps Anastas Kasongo Wa-Kimba.