…As business harnesses trade opportunities in China
By Hilary Mare
PRESIDENT Hage Geingob has called for more sustainable trade and investment relations between Namibia and China, a situation that would encourage a ‘win-win’ relationship between the two nations.
Addressing delegates at the Namibia-China Trade and Industrial Forum in Shanghai this week, Geingob highlighted that investment and trade must be balanced and inclusive, to be sustainable, adding that one key principle of the China-Namibia relationship is that of “win-win”.
The forum attracted around 300 business leaders
“The focus should not be on winning at the expense of the other. Such approach may generate more profit for one Party in the short-term, but will certainly not be sustainable long-term. Therefore, for trade and investment to grow and remain sustainable, it must also be shared,” he told the gathering which also had Wang Zhixiong, Vice Chairman of the All China Chamber of Business and President of the Shanghai Federation of Industry and Commerce and He Liehui, Chairman of Touchroad International Holdings Group in attendance.
Dispelling the notion that he had come to beg for funding, Geingob said that the delegation was in China on equal footing.
“Let me also clarify that we did not come to China to beg, not did we come here to sign a loan agreement. We came to China on equal footing, and the elevation of our relationship is testament to that. Naturally, to finance development enabling capital projects, we will be looking for cheaper money, but always on terms that are good for us.
“It remains regrettable that Namibia is disadvantaged by income classification of the World Bank and cannot easily access grant funding and concessional loans. And even concessional loans, will always be scrutinized for conditions other than the effective interest of cost of the loan. We have the duty to growth and promote our local businesses and industries. Therefore, if we can access loans from China or any other country of financial institution, on good terms that are aligned to our developmental objectives we will consider it,” he explained.
“One of the important outcomes of our State Visit has been the elevation of Namibia-China relations to the highest level of ‘Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership’. This has given new impetus to Namibia-China relations and in short means that cooperation between the two nations will be all inclusive and will be based on equality.”
Ahead of his address to the China-Namibia Business Forum, Geingob met with China’s wealthiest man and founder of the Alibaba Group, Jack Ma.
Geingob informed Ma that he followed his entrepreneurial activities, and further expressed appreciation for his visit to Namibia in 2017. He informed Ma that he would like to encourage his involvement in Namibia through the provision of training opportunities, internships and mentoring of young Namibians involved in business and Information Communication Technologies.
He also urged Ma to explore Namibia’s tourism sector since it held great potential.
Ma indicated that he was ready to invest in Namibia, and businesses in the country would be encouraged to join his e-commerce platform to sell their products.
In addition to setting up an award for African entrepreneurship, including the creation of opportunities to promote Namibia through the electronic world trade and tourism platform providing access to the largest online travel companies, Ma emphasized that if e-commerce could work in China, it could work in Africa. Ma informed that through his work in conservation Paradise International Foundation focused on wildlife conservation, he gave awards to 50 rangers annually and he would consider hosting the event in Namibia.
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