Bilateral cooperation between Zimbabwe and Namibia is moving in a positive direction despite a mixed picture on progress matrix, Foreign Affairs and International Trade minister Frederick Shava said Thursday.
In his remarks on the 6th round of the Zimbabwe-Namibia diplomatic and political consultations in Windhoek, Ambassador Shava said officials of the two countries have committed to remain engaged despite the restrictions forced on us by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Zimbabwe and Namibia have a Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation (JPCC) established in 1992 and the two countries want to upgrade that to a Bi-National Commission (BNC).
“A notable development during the past year was the signing of the MoU on Labour and Employment. Since the last JPCC in 2019 we have had some exchange of visits between our Ministries of Agriculture; Health, Transport, Information, just to mention a few. Such exchanges reflect our shared commitment to keep our bilateral relations on a steady track and can only be encouraged,” Shava said.
But he noted that a glance a progress matrix pointed to a mixed picture in the implementation of the agreed decisions and programmes.
“We have areas where cooperation has been going on smoothly, while some areas have indeed lagged behind. I, therefore, wish to urge our officials to expeditiously work on the outstanding issues so they register progress by the time we convene the inaugural session of the BNC,” Shava said.
“Where necessary we should adopt the available technology to hold meetings between different Ministries. Without the implementation of agreed decisions and programmes all our efforts will come to naught.”
Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Namibia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation said the two countries are working closely together to overcome the common development challenges.
“This is evident from the regular exchange of visits at the highest levels, ongoing consultations and joint efforts in the economic, commercial, scientific, technical, social, cultural, defence and security fields. This includes the conclusion of important bilateral agreements in a wide range of areas such as education, health, human capital development, agriculture, energy and sports and culture,” she said.
Nandi-Ndaitwah said another area of close cooperation was the establishment of the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area.
“This regional initiative holds great potential for the advancement of regional tourism, the sustainable management of our shared resources, as well as socioeconomic development of the communities in this area, particularly as our economies recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.