WINDHOEK, 15 MAY – In a bid to combat poaching in which its citizens have been implicated – the Chinese government has donated 30 four wheel drive anti-poaching pickup trucks and camping equipment to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism for its anti-poaching operations.
The donation was announced by National Assembly (NA) Speaker, Professor Peter Katjavivi on Monday at a press conference in the capital.
The press conference was aimed at announcing the expected arrival of the Chairman of the National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China, Li Zhanshu and his delegation who will be visiting Namibia on a three-day trip.
Li arrives in Namibia on Wednesday.
Asked whether the donation was premised on assertions that some Chinese nationals are perpetuating poaching and other illicit activities in Namibia, Katjavivi could not respond.
“Your guess is as good as mine,” he said, adding that irrespective of what the reason for the donations were, it was “done in good faith”.
In one of many incidents in 2016, a Chinese national was arrested in South Africa with 18 rhino horns valued at N$ 6.6 million which were suspected to have been smuggled from Namibia.
“The good news is that the Chinese government responded positively to deal with poaching. There is a good will to combat poaching,” he said.
In addition, Li’s delegation will be accompanied by a team of specialist eye doctors from China, who will be treating eye cataract patients in Windhoek and Oshakati, while eye treatment equipment will also be donated to the Windhoek Central Hospital.
The visit comes just two months after President Hage Geingob led a delegation to China.
“Bilateral relations between China and Namibia have been greatly elevated since the visit of the Namibian Head of State,” Katjavivi said, adding that “We are glad to note that this bond of friendship has grown from strength to strength”.
The visit will be Li’s first to Africa and will include stops in Ethiopia and Mozambique before Namibia.
During the visit, Katjavivi and his counterpart will discuss issues of mutual interest, including staff exchange and signing of Memoranda of Understanding between the Parliament of Namibia and China’s National People’s Congress.
“We want to learn from each other. This includes value addition [as] we have infant industries. We do not want to become a dumping ground of products from other countries,” said the Speaker.
Li will also pay a courtesy visit to both Geingob and Founding President, Sam Nujoma.