President Mbeki to attend the South Africa -Namibia Heads of State Economic Bilateral Commission
4 August 2008
Pretoria: President Thabo Mbeki will on Tuesday, 5 August 2008, lead a South African delegation to the South Africa-Namibia Heads of State Economic Bilateral Commission.
President Mbeki is undertaking the visit within the context of South Africa's commitment to strengthening bilateral economic relations with Namibia and within the broad framework of advancing the African agenda.
The Heads of State Bilateral Economic Forum will allow President Mbeki and Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba an opportunity to preside over the review of progress made with regard to strategic projects between the two countries.
The Economic Bilateral Commission further serves as a platform for reinforcing bilateral economic relations between South Africa and Namibia.
In this regard discussions during the Commission will focus, among others, on:
* trade and industry issues
* agricultural issues
* energy issues
* issues of the environment and tourism issues
* science and technology
* transport and communication.
Since the establishment of the Economic Bilateral Commission, South Africa has assisted Namibia to establish a Cardiac Unit at the Windhoek Central hospital. On 23 June 2008, Namibia opened its first Cardiac Unit and became the third country on the continent after South Africa and Egypt to have a cardiac unit and to conduct successful heart operations.
South Africa's bid for the site of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) was launched in May 2003. Namibia is an important global partner in the SKA project and is important in ensuring low radio frequency interference that might affect the telescope core site in the Northern Cape. Namibia is also a primary site for the location of remote arrays of the SKA.
Namibia and South Africa have agreed to continue co-operating in capacity building in the area of astronomy and astrophysics. In this regard, the National Laser Centre in South Africa is working closely with the Faculty of Science at the University of Namibia in developing a laser and photo laboratory.
Bilateral Economic Relations
South Africa is one of Namibia's important economic partners. Bilateral trade between South Africa and Namibia accounts for two thirds of Namibia's total foreign trade.
The strategic relations between South Africa and Namibia are further enhanced by the two countries' membership of the Southern African Customs Union and the Common Monetary Union.
South Africa and Namibia are part of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) configuration that is negotiating with the European Commission. The two countries essentially share a common interest in ensuring that the EPA foster regional integration and development.
Issued by: Department of Foreign Affairs
4 August 2008