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Bilateral Relations

African Union (AU)

South African Development Community (SADC)
Relations with Namibia
South Africa and Namibia enjoy warm and fraternal relations that are characterised by regular and increasing interaction at all levels. These relations are historical and were cemented during the period of the fight against colonialism and apartheid. As a result, excellent bilateral cooperation exists between the two countries. Namibia’s stability and her interrelated economic ties with South Africa make the country a natural strategic partner for the Republic.

Bilateral cooperation between the two countries covers a wide range of fields. Significant progress in respect to the bilateral cooperation has been made over the years as evidenced by the existence of some 66 signed agreements and memoranda of understanding. These agreements/memoranda of understanding cover a wide range of areas including political, economic, social, defence and security cooperation.

From 1997-2012 these bilateral relations were conducted through the Heads of State Economic Bilateral Meeting (HOSEB) and the Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and  Security (JPCDS).  The HOSEB covered issues such as joint economic cooperation, environment, in particular Transfrontier Parks, Marine and Coastal Management, Transport, Energy, Science and Technology, Trade and Industry, Spatial Development Initiatives and issues relating to regional integration.  The JPCDS dealt with issues of mutual interest in the fields of defence, and state and public security.  Co-operation in all of these areas is facilitated by the implementation of the sectoral agreements and memoranda of understanding which have been signed over the years between the two countries.

At the invitation of the President of the Republic of South Africa, H.E. President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, the President of the Republic of Namibia, H.E. Hifikepunye Pohamba, paid a State Visit to South Africa from 5 to 7 November 2012. H.E. President Pohamba was accompanied by Cabinet Ministers and senior Government Officials.  The objective of the visit was to consolidate and deepen the existing fraternal and neighbourly relations between South Africa and Namibia. H.E. President Pohamba was honoured with an address of the joint seating of Parliament, a highest honour given to a visiting Head of State or Government.

During H.E President Pohamba’s state visit a number of legal instruments were signed, including the Agreement establishing a Bi-National Commission (BNC). This Agreement transformed the previous Heads of State Economic Bilateral Forum (HOSEB) into a fully fledged Bi-National Commission, thus making Namibia one of the few countries with which South Africa has this arrangement.  The Bi-National Commission is divided into the following 4 Sectoral Committees that  include more bilateral sectors of cooperation such as education, gender, health, fisheries, lands, ICT and culture:
i) Diplomatic Committee
ii) Economic Committee
iii) Social Committee
iv) Defence and Security Committee

The burgeoning relationship with Namibia is now being managed and consolidated through the BNC, and will provide the required momentum to the implementation of all signed agreements and memoranda of understanding.  It meets annually alternating between the two countries.

At the invitation of H.E President Pohamba, H.E President Zuma paid a State Visit to the Republic of Namibia, which coincided with the inauguration of the Bi-National Commission from 6 to 7 November 2013. 

The two Presidents discussed the most severe drought affecting Namibia in 30 years, and H.E President Zuma pledged a package of support from the South African Government totaling R100 million.  During their official talks, the two Presidents reviewed a wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues, and re-affirmed their commitment to work together in pursuit of regional economic integration.

H.E President Zuma was also accorded the honour to address the Namibian National Assembly during which he expressed profound appreciation of the historical and fraternal relations between the fraternal peoples of Namibia and South Africa.

The economy of Namibia is closely linked to South Africa in terms of trade. In 2012 Namibia imported more than R35 billion worth of goods from South Africa.  South Africa’s main exports to Namibia consist of vehicles, machinery, pharmaceuticals, processed food, clothes, cement, petroleum and petroleum products, and iron and steel.      A significant percentage of Namibia’s exports go through South Africa, with more than R5 billion worth of goods destined for the South African market in 2012.  Namibia’s main exports to South Africa include beverages, livestock, meat products, fish and minerals.

South African companies have a large number of investments in the key industries in Namibia such as mining, retail, banking and insurance. In 2012, total South African investments in Namibia were valued at more than R58 billion.

Namibia contributes greatly to the growth and development of the South African tourism industry.   Although having only a relatively small population, Namibia ranked as South Africa’s 9th largest source of tourism in the world with some 200,000 visitors in 2012.  It was also the largest source of business tourists (25,000) for South Africa in the world in 2012.   

Namibia is also a key economic and social partner within the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and the African Union (AU).
HE Mr WMP Whitehead
Head of Mission
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