President Jacob Zuma to Co-Chair South Africa-Namibia Heads of State Economic Bilateral Forum, 03 November, Pretoria

Pretoria: President Jacob Zuma will, on Tuesday 03 November 2009, co-chair the South Africa- Namibia Heads of State Economic Bilateral Forum with his Namibian counterpart, President Hifikepunye Pohamba at the Presidential Guest House in Pretoria. President Jacob Zuma will be supported by the International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana Mashabane, nine other Government Ministers and senior Government officials from various Departments.

The Heads of State Economic Bilateral Forum between South Africa and Namibia takes place within the context of strengthening the bilateral relations and further seeks to consolidate efforts aimed at regional economic integration within the Southern African Development Community (SADC). In addition, the two countries’ respective membership of the Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU) and the Common Monetary Union (CMU) could serve as another catalyst towards the envisaged SADC Customs Union.

Furthermore the meeting between the two leaders will present the two leaders with the opportunity to ascertain progress in the implementation of milestone regional projects like the Trans-Kalahari Rail Initiative which is a project supported by South Africa, Namibia and Botswana, as well the Trans Kunene Corridor which involves, South Africa, Namibia and Angola. Accordingly, issues on the agenda of the Economic Bilateral Forum include, among others, the following:

- Trade and Industry
- Agriculture
- Environment and Tourism
- Science and Technology
- Transport and Communication

It is also expected that the two Heads of State will exchange views on the newly created National Planning Commission headed by Minister Trevor Manuel, to share expertise for mutual benefit in both countries.

Upon conclusion of the deliberations it is expected that three agreements on Tourism, Energy and Transport, will be signed.

South Africa – Namibia Trade Relations.

Two-way trade between South Africa and other SADC member states is characterised by the prevailing trade imbalance favouring South Africa. Within the SADC, a smaller group of countries, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland (the BLNS countries) and South Africa have organised themselves into the Southern African Custom Union (SACU). SACU thus shares a common external tariff regime on virtually all trade. A sizeable share of South Africa’s exports (estimated at over R46, 8 billion at the end of 2004) is destined for SACU. South African trade with SACU increased significantly between 2002 and 2004, from R15 billion to R46.8 billion respectively (2005 figures are currently unavailable). The trade balance is currently in favour of South Africa due to the limited diversification of industries in the BLNS states which results in the export of mainly primary products.

Namibia’s main exports are diamonds and other minerals, fish (largely processed), manufactured products, food and live animals. These products are largely exported to South Africa, the United Kingdom, Angola and Spain, with South Africa accounting for 27.8 percent of the Namibian exports consisting of live animals, meat, fish and mineral products..

Namibian export products include:

Diamonds – 45, 2%
Other minerals – 12, 5 %
Fish- 9.8 %
Manufactured goods – 16. 0%
Other – 16, 5 %

On the other hand South Africa is the source of about 85% of Namibia’s imports by value, including virtually all commodities except for petroleum products. Food, beverages and increasingly machinery and transport equipment as well as other manufactured goods are the biggest import categories. Bilateral trade between South Africa and Namibia accounts for two thirds of Namibia’s total foreign trade. Furthermore South Africa holds approximately 80% of investments in the key industries in Namibia such as mining, retail, banking and insurance. Total investments by South Africa in Namibia amounted to US$ 1,637.5 million in 2006.

MEDIA PROGRAMME.

Venue: Presidential Guest House.

Tuesday, 03 November 2009.

09h00 : Arrival of Media at the Presidential Guest House.
09h55 : Arrival of President Pohamba, to be received by President Zuma.
(Photo Opportunity)
10h00 – 10h00   : Tete-a-tete between President Zuma and President Pohamba
(Photo opportunity – Official media only).
10h30 – 12h30 : SA-Namibia Heads of State Economic Bilateral Meeting
(Media in attendance for the opening remarks only).
12h30-12h40 : Signing of Agreements – Credentials Room
(Media in attendance)
12h40-12h55 : Press Conference – Credentials Room.

End of media programme.

For logistical enquiries contact Thembela Ngculu on 082 387 5611 or Matsepo Seedat on 082 6799473.

For more information contact Nomfanelo Kota on 082 459 3787.
Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation
Private Bag X152
Pretoria, 0001.

02 November 2009

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