WINDHOEK, Mar. 3 – South Africa’s fifth President Cyril Ramaphosa arrived on a state visit to Namibia yesterday, two weeks after the resignation of Jacob Zuma following a vote of the National Assembly on 15 February 2018.
Ramaphosa’s courtesy visit to President Hage Geingob is symbolic of the friendship that was fostered during the days of the liberation struggle, as both SWAPO and ANC parties were partners that aided each other during the apartheid, according to Ramaphosa.
The South African head of state explained that his country was going through an economic recovery process, focusing on high unemployment, as almost 9 million people were currently jobless.
“We need to embark on job creation processes. We need investment and so we invite investors to come and invest in our country. Our State Owned Enterprises contribute 30% to our GDP (Gross Demographic Product) thus there is a need to reorganize it. We want to make sure that all our people take part in our radical economic transformation. All people should benefit,” he said.
He added that it was also important to recognise the part that women play in the development of the country.
“We need to empower our women, and as such women empowerment will be one of our main focus. We also need to assist SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) as we realise that SME is one of our biggest job creation.”
When asked how he was going to implement the question of land expropriation with out compensation, Ramaphosa explained that the land issue will be addressed in a positive way.
“We will make sure that the economy is not affected and we will make sure that Agricultural production is positively affected. We will make sure that we will handle the land issue responsibly.”
Geingob congratulated Ramaphosa on his election victory as ANC president as well as president of the Republic of South Africa, adding that the spirit of brotherhood, sisterhood and comradeship between the people of South Africa and Namibia holds the key to the realization of a future shared prosperity.
“It is why our bilateral relations and corporation with South Africa is integral to achieving the desired level of economic development and social progression.”
President Geingob stated that South Africa is Namibia’s biggest trading partner, with N$64.1 billion traded between the two Southern African countries.
However, trade between the two remains heavily in favor of South Africa, with Namibia importing goods worth N$49.1 billion from South Africa, while exports to South Africa amounted to N$15 billion only.
“Our country investment portfolio and exposure in South Africa stood at N$82 billion in 2017, N$34.6 billion of that was invested in equity securities, N$33.3 billion debt securities and N$14.1 billion on others assets instruments such as unit trusts and property.”
President Ramaphosa was in Angola before he made a stop in Namibia and he will conclude his visit in Botswana before heading back home.
Namibia will take over SADC chairmanship from South Africa this year in August 2018. – Robert Maseka