Namibian and South African private sectors enhance cooperation

Chairperson of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI), Martin Shipanga, led a high level business delegation to a Doing Business in Namibia Investment Seminar in Johannesburg South Africa (S.A.) on Wednesday.

Shipanga told Nampa in a telephone interview, the just concluded seminar enhanced cooperation between the two countries at institutional level.

He said private sector players in both countries have shown a commitment to better utilising the Walvis-bay harbour as a gateway to trade in order to relieve congestion on the Durban Harbour in South Africa.

One of the priority areas we have concluded agreements on is the need for mutually beneficial partnerships in terms of cross-border trade, Shipanga said.

The Trans-Kalahari Highway links Namibia to South Africa. The Durban port at times gets congested. By using the port of Walvis-Bay, our South African partners win by relieving congestion, Namibia wins by providing a service and the Southern African Development Community wins because of the positive spin-offs in terms of circulation of money within the regional bloc, Shipanga added.

Echoing Shipanga's sentiments, former President at the Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and Investment (JCCI) and current Chairperson of the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA), Ernest Mahlaule, told Nampa at 15 per cent intra-trade within the South African Development Community (SADC) is too low.

Mahlaule said agreements in principle have been made to ensure transaction focused investment between private sector actors from both countries.

We are cognisant of the need to localise investment with our trading partner Namibia. There are various transactions that have taken place which I am not at liberty to disclose, Mahlaule said.

However, we have both agreed that there is a bigger picture. Our country to country cooperation with Namibia is a step towards intra-trade within SADC. Once that has borne significant fruit we are looking at intra-trade between all countries on the African continent. This is the ultimate goal, Mahlaule explained.

Mahlaule told Nampa pulling a bloc together country by country isn't an easy feat but because of the level of cooperation and frequent engagement with Namibian private sector actors, under the auspices of the NCCI, significant progress and significant gains have been made in a relatively short period.

The engagements began with their visit to Namibia in 2016, Mahlaule noted.

President of JCCI, Jacki Mpondo-Hendricks responding to questions emailed by Nampa said even though South Africa might be the bigger trading partner the JCCI believes in mutual beneficiation and always seeking opportunities for their businesses globally through exports.

Namibia provides an international gateway to markets across the world. Walvis Bay Corridor Group through its routes, its networks and relationships at the various points of entry and turnaround times provides well received benefits to members of the JCCI, Mpondo-Hendricks said.

Source: Namibia Press Agency