India has offered to provide Buyer’s Credit of US$ 100 million to Namibia for taking up infrastructure projects. This will be in addition to the US$ 100 million Lines of Credit which India had offered during the State visit of the President of Namibia to India in 2009. This offer was made by Shri Anand Sharma, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, who was on a two-day visit to Namibia from February 4, 2014.
During his visit he called on Mr. Hifikepunye Pohamba, President of Namibia and Dr. Hage Geingob, Prime Minister of Namibia. He also had bilateral meetings with Mr. Carl H.G. Schlettwein, Minister of Trade and Industry, Namibia, Ms. Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Foreign Minister of Namibia and Mr. Joel Kaapanda, Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Namibia.
India conveyed to Namibia its commitment to be a close partner for achieving the goals of the development agenda being pursued by Namibia. While drawing attention to the important role being played by the India-Africa Forum Summits, Shri Sharma conveyed that it had been decided to set up an ICT Training Institute and an Entrepreneurship Development Centre in Namibia. It was agreed to speed up the setting up of these institutions.
In his meeting with Prime Minister Dr. Hage Geingob, Shri Sharma offered to set up an SME Skill Centre, for which National Small Industries Corporation will be the designated agency. The Prime Minister appreciated the important role being played by the ITEC programme in enhancing human resource development of the Namibian participants. In order to provide specialized training to trade negotiators from Namibia Shri Sharma offered to organize a dedicated course for 60 participants at the Centre for WTO Studies in Indian Institute of Foreign Trade. Dr. Geingob renewed the offer for supply of Uranium to India.
Earlier, in his bilateral meeting with Mr. Carl H.G. Schlettwein, post-Bali work programme was discussed. Mr. Schlettwein acknowledged India’s key role in achieving a positive outcome on the issue of food security. Shri Sharma thanked Namibia and other countries of Africa for the support provided in achieving the food security package for the developing countries.
While reviewing the bilateral trade between the two countries, it was agreed that the full potential had not been realized. Shri Sharma offered India’s full support in the priority sectors of cooperation namely, drugs and pharmaceuticals, small and medium industries, agriculture and infrastructure. Mr. Schlettwein appreciated the role of Indian investors in Namibia. In particular, he mentioned Vedanta Resources who had undertaken value addition by setting up a Zinc refinery and also provided skills training to young Namibians. Shri Sharma reaffirmed India’s commitment to capacity building, job creation and value addition while taking up new investments in Africa in general and Namibia in particular. Shri Sharma also expressed with great satisfaction the 259% growth in trade for the year 2013 as compared to 2012, with Namibia. While the total trade between India and Namibia was US$ 65.03 million in 2012, it rose to US$ 233.62 million in 2013. India’s top items of exports to Namibia are drugs, pharmaceuticals and fine chemicals, transport equipments, electronic goods, miscellaneous processed items, manufactures of metals, rice (other than Basmati), marine products, plastic & linoleum products, meat and preparations etc. on the other hand, major items imported by India from Namibia are metalifers ores and metal scrap, non-metallic minerals manufactures except pearls, pearls, precious, semi-precious stones, electronic goods, machinery except electronic and electric, petroleum, crude and products, leather, medicinal & pharmaceutical products etc.
The progress of India- Southern African Customs Union (SACU) Preferential TradeAgreement negotiations was also discussed between the two Ministers. Both sides agreed that there was need to come to an early conclusion. This was necessary so that the India-SACU – MERCOSUR trilateral could be concluded.
Shri Sharma concluded his two nation tour to Zimbabwe and Namibia with his meetings with President of Namibia and Prime Minister of Namibia.