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Nam-Zim bilateral agreements intact despite political change

by Kelvin Chiringa

Bilateral agreements in trade and other areas between Namibia and Zimbabwe will not be renegotiated despite the change of leadership in the latter, International relations and cooperation minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah has said. 

The minister said the change in Zimbabwe has just been that of administration but the fact that the ruling Zanu PF party remains in power should see the agreements intact. 

“What you need to understand is that, of course there is a new president but there has not been really a change in the government. The Zanu PF party remains the ruling party in Zimbabwe and all the agreements signed between Namibia and Zimbabwe will remain and they will continue to operate,” said the minister. 

She said political dialogue between Windhoek and Harare will also remain open and intensified as well as the commission of cooperation between the two.

“We will implement all our agreements. That is why even the Namibian ambassador in Harare is still there and that of Zimbabwe to Namibia. So it is the same ruling party, same policy, same principles and same programs,” she said. 

Namibia and Zimbabwe have signed a number of bilateral agreements in trade, the earliest one being the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) negotiated since 1991 and has been into force since 1993.

During a fifth session of the Zimbabwe-Namibia Joint Permanent Commission in 2011, both countries also appended signatures over three agreements aimed at strengthening bilateral trade and investment ties.

These included a memorandum of understanding on Forestry Management, Bilateral Air Services Agreement and a revised Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA).

This revised PTA also saw Namibia offering Zimbabwe space for the dry port facilities in Walvis Bay.

Although trade between the two countries has not been that robust, Namibia has seen increased exports of fish to Zimbabwe having grown from N$5.9 million to N$ 15.4 million

Data dating back to 2011 from the Walvis Bay Corridor Group show that Zimbabwe’s trade volumes via the Walvis Bay port grew significantly to 2 500 tonnes per month.