Namibia-Japan to deepen economic cooperation

By Hilary Mare

PRESIDENT Hage Geingob last week held bilateral talks with the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzō Abe with a focus on how the two countries could deepen investment and economic cooperation, including cooperation in multilateral fora.

Geingob was in Japan to participate in the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development, held in the port city of Yokohama. The President participated alongside African Heads of State and leaders of Multilateral Organizations in TICAD7 under the theme “Advancing Africa’s Development through People, Technology, and Innovation”.

During the bilateral talks Abe informed that Japan considered Namibia a potential investment destination and more could be done to lure Japanese businesses to Namibia.

In the bilateral meeting, Abe pledged a grant of N$42 million for equipment to be used in the vocational education sector and also informed that Japan would assist Namibia with disaster relief.

Geingob informed that Japan was a trusted partner of Namibia, with the country having played an important role in the training of Namibians, including during the liberation struggle.

With democracy firmly entrenched, Namibia is now focused on the struggle for economic emancipation by building investor confidence, creating a conducive business environment and becoming a destination of choice for tourists, international business and investors, President Geingob informed.

While in Japan on August 29, alongside, President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, Geingob delivered remarks in the plenary “Public Private Business Dialogue” and in his intervention, Geingob informed political and business leaders that Namibia is an open-economy and ready to do business.

“Our economic growth trajectory is centred on a dynamic private sector. We have for this reason adopted legislative frameworks to leverage Public-Private-Partnerships, to enable inclusive growth and shared prosperity. Africa is open to do business with Japan. Namibia is a country governed through processes, systems and institutions and the Rule of Law. Predictability is therefore guaranteed.

“Africa is open to do business with the world, as demonstrated through the established India-Africa; China-Africa; US-Africa and the first Russia-Africa Summit due later this year. It is important those who wish to do business in Africa do so on our terms. Just recently, I inaugurated the expanded world-class Container Terminal at the Port of Walvis Bay, making the Port among the top three on the Atlantic west coast, between Lagos and Cape Town.

“Namibia is well positioned as a gateway into Sub-Saharan Africa. We offer excellent Logistics, with Dry Port facilities for landlocked countries, making them sea linked via transport corridors into the SADC region of 300 million consumers. We want to remain a competitive economy. A month ago, we announced key public policy reforms to enhance the ease of doing business and facilitate the movement of goods and services. These reforms have bolstered investor confidence, resulting in important private sector commitments in the economy,” he said.

Geingob also held several side engagements during TICAD7, including with the Japan AU Parliamentary Friendship Association, Japanese companies currently doing business in Namibia and Namibian Students studying for their PhDs at Universities in Japan.

Seeking new investments, Geingob encouraged Japanese businesses with operations in Namibia to continue investing in the country. On TICAD, Geingob said: “Japan is a longstanding development partner of Africa and our achievements through TICAD have been impactful. Let us continue on this path.”