By Benjamin Wickham
JOHANNESBURG, April 20 — Namibian President Hage Geingob arrived in South Africa on Wednesday for his first state visit since taking office in 2015. Hosted by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Geingob’s visit will focus on strengthening the historic relations between the two countries and exploring new areas of cooperation.
South Africa and Namibia share a close bond, with bilateral relations established under the framework of a Bi-National Commission (BNC) since 2013. The BNC aims to enhance economic cooperation, explore trade and investment, and assess progress made in implementing decisions. Last year, South Africa imported R16.1 billion of goods from Namibia, while South Africa exported R56.5 billion to Namibia.
Geingob’s visit comes amid the Phala Phala scandal, which involves Ramaphosa and Namibian officials. The scandal has cast a shadow on the otherwise positive relations between the two countries. It remains to be seen if the two leaders will address the issue during their discussions.
Geingob’s predecessors, Sam Nujoma and Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba, also enjoyed close relations with South Africa during their presidencies. Nujoma served 15 years as the country’s founding president after Namibia gained independence from South Africa, while Pohamba served 10 years in office.
Geingob’s visit underscores the importance of strengthening relations between neighbouring countries in Africa. By exploring areas of cooperation and identifying new opportunities for collaboration, South Africa and Namibia can continue to build on their longstanding relationship and foster greater regional stability and prosperity. – Namibia Daily News