Namibia and Angola sign Cuvecom agreement

WINDHOEK; The Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, John Mutorwa and Angola’s Minister of Energy and Water of Angola, João Borges signed the Cuvelai Water Basin Commission (Cuvecom) agreement on Tuesday.

The Cuvelai basin originates in southern Angola, and spreads out as it crosses the northern Namibian border, that ends in the Etosha pan. Its catchment area falls between the Kunene River in the west and the Cubango/Okavango River in the east. Enriched in groundwater resources, the system supports the livelihoods of people from southern Angola to northern Namibia, as well as fauna and flora.

Speaking during the signing of the agreement, Mutorwa warned that conflict and misunderstandings over water can occur at any time if water issues are not handled correctly.

“This joint collaboration could significantly contribute towards the maintenance of peace, security, welfare, mutual benefits and prosperity of the citizens,” he noted.

Namibia and Angola’s shared water resources span from Okavango and Zambezi rivers in the east; the Cuvelai basin in the centre; and Kunene river in the west. These waters clearly define the two countries’ various economic activities, which amongst others include agriculture, forestry, mining, hydro-power, manufacturing and tourism.

Mutorwa pledged that the commission will play an important role in advising the two governments on matters relating to the reasonable utilisation, sustainable development and efficient management of the water resources of the Cuvelai.

At the same occasion, Borges highlighted the importance of the agreement to both countries, saying the Cuvelai is home to a large number of people largely because of the presence of shallow groundwater and relatively fertile soils in many areas.

He went on to say the drought experienced in northern Namibia and southern Angola last year led to the migration of people and livestock, which he described as “a very dramatic situation.”

“The challenges of water resources in both countries can only be addressed through efficient water resource management including the implementation of this agreement,” Borges stated.