China and Namibia stride into a new era of comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership
By Zhang Yiming,
Chinese Ambassador to Namibia
As the spring comes, everything takes a new look. At the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Namibian President Hage G. Geingob paid a state visit to China from 28 March to 3 April. The President had talks with President Xi at the Great Hall of the People and the two heads of state jointly agreed to establish China-Namibia comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.
President Geingob also separately met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress Li Zhanshu. He visited Jiangsu Province and Shanghai City, two developed regions in eastern China and met with their leaders respectively. He successively held three important economic and trade events. He extensively met Chinese entrepreneurs, young students from both countries and other representatives from all walks of life, and conducted in-depth studies on key projects such as industrial parks, agricultural research institutes and aerospace city.
He was awarded an honorary doctorate degree at the China University of Geosciences. He successfully achieved the goals of inheriting China-Namibia traditional friendship, enhancing mutual trust, and expanding pragmatic cooperation.
This visit has enhanced China-Namibia long-standing friendship and written a new chapter in high-level exchanges between the two countries. Political mutual trust has also reached a new level. Namibia is one of the first African countries which have been invited to China after the 13th session of NPC and CPPCC and the forming of the new cabinet of Chinese Central government. It shows that China attaches great importance to the relations with Namibia.
During the visit, the two heads of state held candid and friendly talks, exchanged in-depth views on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of common interest, agreed to establish a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between China and Namibia.
The meeting opened a new era of bilateral relations, marking the high level of their friendship and laid a solid foundation for the long-term sound and stable development of bilateral relations. President Xi stated that China and Africa have been a community of shared future that goes through thick and thin together as well as a community of shared interests featuring win-win cooperation. He welcomed Namibia’s active participation in the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative, and hoped to strengthen policy communication and alignment of plans, facilitate cooperation in key areas, and provide new guidance for the two sides’ strategic coordination.
President Geingob extended his congratulations on Xi Jinping’s re-election as China’s President. They had long and in-depth communication, which strengthened the friendship between the two leaders and elevated ties between the two countries.
This visit promoted practical cooperation between the two sides and achieved mutual benefits and win-win fruits. Just as President Geingob said, China never colonized any African countries and has always treated small and medium sized African countries on an equal footing. China is a sincere partner and friend of Africa. China-Namibia cooperation is by no means a relationship of “begging and charity”, but pursues win-win situation. During President Geingob’s visit, the two sides conducted in-depth cooperation in the fields of agricultural modernization, industrial park construction, e-commerce, production capacity, tourism, etc. and signed a series of cooperative agreements in the areas of infrastructure, financing, inspection and quarantine, etc., which paves the way for further cooperation.
China-Namibia agricultural cooperation has great potential.
In this visit, the two sides revised and signed the agreement on the export of Namibian beef to China, and soon Namibian beef will enter the Chinese market. The oysters of Namibia were first served at the state banquet at the Great Hall of the People and were warmly welcomed by distinguished guests.
Namibia’s products are abundant. China welcomes more Namibian agricultural products to be exported to China. According to Namibia’s soil and climate conditions, and in order to explore the agricultural development potential, President Geingob visited the Asia-Pacific Center of the International Potato Center on the spot and learnt from China’s advanced practices in the fields of potato breeding and planting to achieve better potato harvest in Namibia.
The space science and technology field is an important aspect of China-Namibia cooperation. Namibia has made important contributions to China’s and even the world’s space course. During his stay in Beijing, President Geingob visited Aerospace City and met with astronauts such as Jing Haipeng, Wang Yaping, and Nie Haisheng who had performed manned missions on Shenzhou spacecrafts, injecting new impetus for deepening China-Namibia space cooperation.
The construction of industrial parks and personnel training are also the priorities for the development of Namibia. During the visit to Jiangsu Province, the delegation visited Suzhou Industrial Park, an international cooperation pilot program jointly established by China and Singapore, aiming at learning development experience of China in this field. The leaders of Suzhou City expressed willingness to provide support for the design and construction of Namibia industrial parks. President Geingob visited the Nanjing Polytechnic Institute to learn about the experience of the Chinese vocational training and the two sides agreed to establish a cooperative relationship. In the future, the Institute will provide support in vocational education of Namibia in terms of teachers, textbooks, and equipments, which will undoubtedly help talent training and job creation in Namibia.
This visit effectively boasted the Chinese people’s comprehensive understanding of Namibia, and brought new opportunities for the two countries to expand bilateral economic and trade investment and people-to-people exchanges. The Namibia delegation includes not only ministers and other cabinet members, but also more than 60 entrepreneurs, which were unprecedented. It fully embodies the great importance the President attaches to our relationship and new expectations for bilateral economic and trade investment cooperation. The Chinese side warmly welcomed and cordially hospitalized the visit of the delegation.
The delegation traveled from the political center of China’s capital to the economic center in the South, had talks with central and local governments on pragmatic cooperation. Those kind arrangements perfectly showed the friendship and cooperation expectation of the Chinese people.
During President Geingob’s visit, the two parties held three economic and trade forums attended by nearly 1,000 entrepreneurs, and attracted the celebrities and business people from the capital and the Yangtze River Delta Economic Belt. The representative of China General Nuclear, which operates the Husab Uranium Mine, promoted the superior investment environment of Namibia at the China-Namibia Business Forum in Shanghai, which aroused wide interest of Chinese entrepreneurs to invest in Namibia. President Geingob also met with Mr. Jack Ma, President of Alibaba, who spent US$10 million to establish the African Outstanding Entrepreneur Award, and invited Jack Ma to visit Namibia at an appropriate time. Mr. Ma promised to provide support for the training of e-commerce talents of Namibia and the establishment of a trade and tourism e-platform for Namibia. He hoped that Namibian entrepreneurs could win the award. President Geingob also visited China University of Geosciences, met with Namibian oversea students in China, and had exchanges with young people of the two countries which enhanced the younger generation’s understanding and their will to carry on the traditional China-Namibia friendship.
As the Chinese saying goes, distance tests a horse’s strength, and a friend in need is a friend indeed. Rooted in the struggle against imperialism and colonialism, the China-Namibia friendship has experienced the nation-building period when the two sides stood side by side sharing weal and woe with each other. The flower of our friendship is blooming in the 21st century.
With President Geingob’s visit to China as a starting point, China and Namibia are not only all-weather friends, but also comprehensive strategic cooperative partners. China will uphold the correct concept of righteousness and interest and build relations with Africa based on sincerity, real results, affinity, and good faith, work hand in hand with Namibia so as to further deepen bilateral win-win cooperation for more benefits of the two peoples.