By Zanele Buthelezi

CAPE TOWN, May 8 — South Africa and Namibia have committed to working closer together to eradicate social ills such as poverty and unemployment.

This was discussed by President Jacob Zuma and his Namibian counterpart, Hage Geingob, during bilateral discussions in Cape Town Thursday. Geingob is in the country on a courtesy visit.

High-level delegations from both sides deliberated on issues like trade and investment.

Zuma said in view of the two countries’ shared history, doing business between them would be flexible. “We are not going to keep too much protocol given our history. We are going to inter-act quite flexibly.”

Geingob agreed that as the two countries fought similar challenges in the past, they should tackle social issues together.

“We are neighbours, comrades. We were fighting the same enemy ….. now the biggest enemy remaining is poverty. Therefore we have to join hands again to fight that enemy, poverty,” he added.

Co-operation between the two countries covers a wide range of fields including, trade and investment, energy, water, transport, agriculture, science and technology, education, defence and security.

Significant progress in respect of the bilateral co-operation has been made over the years, as evidenced by the existence of more than 60 agreements and memoranda of understanding (MoU) signed between them.

There is also a strong trade cooperation between South Africa and Namibia. For example, in 2014, South Africa exported goods worth 49.1 billion Rand (about 4.09 billion US dollars) to Namibia, while Namibia exported goods worth R6.2 billion to South Africa.