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Ambassador: Namibia supports China-Africa transport infrastructure initiatives

By Zhao Manfeng | | Updated: 2017-04-10 08:42

Ambassador: Namibia supports China-Africa transport infrastructure initiatives

Dr Elia G. Kaiyamo, Ambassador of the Republic of Namibia to China. [Zhao Manfeng/]

"Namibia fully supports efforts such as the link between China and other African countries to implement the Belt and Road Initiative, " Dr Elia G. Kaiyamo, Ambassador of the Republic of Namibia to China, told the China Daily website during an exclusive interview on Thursday in Beijing.

Namibia has set itself a target to be an International Logistics Hub for SADC Countries and in furtherance of closer regional integration efforts of the continent. "It is for this reason that we are currently at an advanced stage (with China’s assistance) to deepen and upgrade the port of Walvis Bay.Chinese container companies sail to our harbour and stop at the Walvis Bay container terminal with traded goods between African and the world," the Ambassador said.

The port is called Walvisch Baye by the Dutch and Whale Bay by the English according to the colonized history of Africa.

According to the Ministry of Commerce of China, from 1990 to 2015, China has invested 61 billion Namibian dollars ($4.6 billion). More than 40 Chinese enterprises had made a total investment of 45 billion Namibian dollars ($3.4 billion), employing over 4,000 Namibian citizens.

"China was one of the first country to offer food aid to us when we experienced a three-year-long drought, and was the first country to offer capital when we needed it most," said Dr Kaiyamo.

According to Xinhua, the first batch of drought relief food from China to feed more than 22,000 households in Namibia arrived in January 2017 as the country battled persistent dry spells. Apart from food aid, China's Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Ming also announced that China would promote the agricultural cooperation between Namibia to assist in food security.

"Different from those nations that carved out in Africa with the sole intent to develop their countries with our mineral resources and the blood and sweat of our forced labor, China is our economic partner and genial friend and China never colonized any single African country," the Ambassador said.

In 2016, a dual carriageway road that links Namibia's capital Windhoek and the Hosea Kutako International Airport started being built by the China Railway Seventh Group and the Namibian company Onamagongwa Trading Enterprises.

Dr. Kaiyamo says Namibia's advantages are its flourishing democracy and socio-economic stability. He believes that Namibia’s democratic path can set a good example for African countries that are still undergoing the transitions to democracy." Political and economic instability and regional conflicts in some of African countries set obstacles for the executive actions of the Belt and Road Initiative," warned Dr Kaiyamo.

"African countries should also learn best practices from China's flavor of democracy, law-enforcement and hard-working culture," said Dr Kaiyamo. To the Ambassador, the One Belt One Road Initiative is more than an economic opportunity,it also serves as a chance for African countries to learn from China experiences.

The Ambassador mentioned the African continent and China shared similar hopes for the future on the international front. According to African Union's Agenda 2063, all AU members states aim for a continent free of vices - no epidemics, war or poverty - and a prosperous continent. The Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in 2015 also pointed to a bright track for China-Africa cooperation, backing and other moves for the betterment of both partners.

"African states have risen economically and seen development in cross-border transportation infrastructure, with the unmatched help of their Asian partner. Long-term Chinese developmental investment is key for African development and for Agenda 2063 to become a reality", said Dr Kaiyamo.

China has proven multiple times that it is ready to share technology to support Africa's quest for development without attaching conditions," Dr Kaiyamo said.

According to the Ambassador, the wholesale export of raw materials has been replaced with a focus on value-addition, skill development and technology transfer.

Africa's first modern electric railway just kicked off its regular service early 2017, linking Ethiopia with the Port of Doraleh on the Gulf of Aden. China Railway Engineering Co. and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation spent six years on the project.

Looking forward, Dr Kaiyamo believes that the Belt and Road Initiative symbolizes a more proactive approach in meeting the anticipation of China's global obligations and leadership. "Every African country should seize the tremendous opportunities," concluded Dr Kaiyamo.


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