STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY HAGE G. GEINGOB, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA AT THE OPENING OF THE FORUM ON CHINA-AFRICA COOPERATION (FOCAC) SUMMIT
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA, 5 DECEMBER 2015
Your Excellency, Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa; Your Excellency, Xi Jingping, President of the People’s Republic of China; Excellencies, Heads of State and Government; Distinguished Guests; Members of the Media.
On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Namibia and on my own behalf, I would like to thank the government and people of the Republic of South Africa for the warm hospitality extended to us since our arrival in Johannesburg.
The second FOCAC is being held for the first time in Africa, and in southern Africa in particular. This is testimony of a maturing partnership. The theme of China and Africa Progressing Together in a Win-Win Cooperation for Common Development is highly appropriate and speaks respectfully towards Africa’s demand for equal partnership and mutually beneficial development.
Excellencies, The AU Agenda 2063 constitutes Africa’s political and economic blue print and embodies our developmental aspirations. Our collective determination to bring about development on our continent is tempered by the understanding that we cannot do it alone.
To this extent, our partnership with China is one built on long lasting and historic solidarity, as well as mutual respect. It is therefore offensive when we are lectured by certain nations and warned about the so called Chinese colonization of Africa.
It is ironic that those who warn us are the same nations who sat around the table at the Berlin Conference in 1884 and carved out colonies in Africa with the sole intent to develop their countries with our mineral resources and the blood and sweat of our forced labour.
The same countries who complain about Chinese investment in Africa are themselves recipients of large scale Chinese investment. As these nations have faith in their capacity to negotiate the best deals for themselves, Africans too have this same capacity.
Africa is free now and so is our ability to deal with those we choose to deal with, on our terms. The wholesale export of our resources has been replaced with a focus on value-addition, skills development and technology transfer.
Excellencies, China’s investment in Africa over the past several decades has been invaluable. These include investments in transport infrastructure development and capacity building. This has enhanced Africa’s capability in moving goods and services. This level of support has existed for decades and is not a new trend as some may have us believe.
In Namibia, we can attest to a number of key investments by China which have made a significant impact on our economy. The detail of the Namibia China relationship have already been discussed in my bilateral meeting with President Xi Jingping. I would however like to give one example of the Uranium megaproject known as the Husab Mine. The mine was opened in a desolate area characterized 4 by barren hills and mountains amongst which a modern highway has been built, leading to life. This mine has brought meaning and purpose to the life of previously unemployed Namibians. We welcome such projects and that’s why we have come to participate in FOCAC with the intention to continue building on our relationship with China in pursuit of more win-win opportunities. We have enjoyed solidarity with China, Cuba, the former socialist block, Scandinavia and some friends in West. Namibia is a child of international solidarity, friend to all, enemy to none. Our investment doors are open for those who respect us and treat us as equals. Now that we have attained Independence and put in place a conducive investment climate, we are keen to join our longstanding friends as we engage in the second phase of the struggle, which is the struggle for economic emancipation.
In Namibia and in Africa, we value the special relations we share with China. FOCAC is the ideal platform for us to build upon those relations for the purpose of mutual benefit. We therefore look forward to engaging with the Chinese people to discuss further cooperation and investment. Similarly, we thank our host for providing us with this opportunity. So as we deliberate on our future, we say long live the friendship between Africa and the People’s Republic of China. Long live FOCAC. I thank you.