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Namibia embraces China’s Traditional Medicine

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By Daniel Itai on newsofthesouth.com

Windhoek, Namibia. (News of The South) – The Chinese government seeks to further expand cooperation in Namibia’s health sector and explore cooperation in the specialist clinical services such as neurology.

Chinese ambassador to Namibia, Zhang Yiming said China was pondering on the establishment of sister hospitals between the two countries as well as providing more opportunities in training and scholarships for Namibian specialists.

Meanwhile, the outgoing Chinese medical team which has been in Namibia since 2018 managed to administer Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to over 20 000 patients during their tenure at the Chinese Acupuncture Department of Katutura State Hospital as well as other facilities in the country.

“Their efforts were welcomed by the patients, especially the elderly who upon hearing of TCM’s effectiveness, often opted for TCM rather than modern medication,” said Mwadina Shiweda, acting chief medical superintendent of Katutura State Hospital.

Ben Nangombe, Namibia’s Executive Director of Health also welcomed the cooperation between the two countries, citing that 90 percent of Namibia’s public health care is dependent on partnerships.

The first health agreement between China and Namibia was signed in 1996 and the specific protocol for acupuncture services was started in 2010.

“So far the Namibian nation has benefited greatly from the Chinese acupuncture services and it is one of the services that are highly in demand among Namibians,” said the Chinese ambassador.

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Africa

PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA OPENING REMARKS AT THE OCCASION OF THE REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA STATE VISIT

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Your Excellency and Dear Brother, President Dr Hage Geingob, Honourable Ministers, High Commissioners, Senior Officials, Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Morning. Allow me to begin by thanking you, Your Excellency, for honouring our invitation.

Too many years have passed since the last state visit to South Africa by the Republic of Namibia in November 2012.

A great many things have changed our world since then, including the global COVID-19 pandemic that wreaked havoc across the globe.

The pandemic had a devastating impact on human health, livelihoods and economic activity, and it will take us some time to fully recover. Therefore, as we further cement our strong bilateral relations, we need to work together for a swift economic and social recovery for our respective countries, for the region and for our continent.

It is gratifying that officials from our two countries continue to engage at various levels. The most recent structured engagement was the Senior Officials Meeting of the 3rd South Africa-Namibia Bi-National Commission that took place in Windhoek in March this year.

I am pleased with the work that has been done in preparation for the upcoming BNC, which is scheduled to take place in Namibia later this year.

Yesterday, Namibia’s Minister in the Presidency and South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation had the opportunity to discuss issues of mutual interest. This engagement will be valuable for our discussions today.

As we sign new Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding during this visit, it is important that we conduct an audit of all existing legal instruments between our two countries in preparation for the upcoming BNC.

We need to be certain that they are fit-for-purpose and that they continue to serve our respective developmental goals.

As neighbours with deep historical ties, we share the same aspirations for our people – development, employment, equality and prosperity. We are therefore committed to deepen our cooperation, particularly in the area of trade and investment.

It is unfortunate that, due to other events taking place this week, we were not able to convene a Business Forum on the sidelines of this State Visit. However, we are determined that a South Africa-Namibia Business Forum should take place this year.

It is an opportunity to bring our respective private sectors together to promote investment, trade and potential new areas for cooperation.

Namibia is one of South Africa’s top trading partners in the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).

We must use our geographic proximity and the close ties between our respective economies for greater mutual benefit. One of the areas to expand cooperation is in energy investment. For example, how do we leverage the growing demand for new, clean technologies like green hydrogen to promote cross-border development?

Both our countries are planning massive hydrogen projects. Such projects are key to the energy security of South Africa and Namibia, and will catalyse economic growth and job creation in both our countries.

We need to look at how we collaborate, as our respective governments, state-owned enterprises and private companies, to seize this great opportunity.

Our shared history enjoins us to pursue a common future. It is imperative that we implement the African Continental Free Trade Area to deepen African economic integration, to develop our economies and to lessen our reliance on imports from outside Africa.

South Africa pledges to continue to work closely with Namibia as current chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation to promote regional peace and stability.

Please be assured of our full support during your tenure, including with respect to regional anti-terrorism initiatives in northern Mozambique.

As we strive for peace and stability in our region, we must continue to support the struggle for self-determination and freedom of the Saharawi people.

The declaration and commitments of the SADC Solidarity Conference with Western Sahara, co-hosted by South Africa and Namibia in March 2019, should be fully implemented.

Similarly, all United Nations and African Union resolutions and decisions should be enforced. We must continue to mobilise regional, continental and international support for a sustainable resolution to the Western Sahara issue, and push for the Kingdom of Morocco and the Polisario Front to resume dialogue without preconditions.

At the same time, we should reaffirm our support for the Palestinian cause and for the two-state solution.

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has exposed the frailties of international systems of governance. South Africa, like Namibia, maintains that the United Nations and the office of the Secretary-General should play an active role in resolving this conflict.

We also agree that the UN in its current configuration needs to be more responsive to the needs and aspirations of the majority of the world’s people. We must step up our efforts to change the design of multilateral systems of governance.

One of the most pressing issues facing our respective countries and our region is climate change. L Like Namibia, South Africa is a water-scare country and is thus particularly vulnerable to climate change and its effects on food security, energy generation, and many other sectors.

We need to work together in pursuit of low-carbon, inclusive, climate resilient development, which is critical to the sustainability of our continent.

Your Excellency, I look forward to our deliberations on these and other important matters of mutual interest.

I thank you again for honouring our invitation and warmly welcome you and your delegation to South Africa.

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Africa

PRESIDENT RAMAPHOSA TO HOST PRESIDENT NIINISTÖ FOR A STATE VISIT

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President Cyril Ramaphosa will host His Excellency President Sauli Väinämö Niinistö of the Republic of Finland on a State Visit to the Republic of South Africa.

President of Finland will undertake a State Visit to the republic, from 24 to 26 April 2023, at the invitation of President Ramaphosa. Initially the visit was planned in April 2020, but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The State Visit will be the first by a Finnish President to South Africa in more than twenty years. President Niinistö, however, visited South Africa in December 2013 to attend the funeral of former President Nelson Mandela.

Bilateral relations between Finland and South Africa are deep rooted due to Finnish support for the liberation movements in Southern Africa. Relations have grown since 1994 in all areas of bilateral engagement and Finnish investment is a major priority for both countries, with over R2 billion in new investments in the last 3 years.

President Niinistö will be accompanied by a delegation of Finnish business leaders and a Business RoundTable will be hosted in partnership with the Department of Trade, Industry and Cooperation held under the theme Building Smart, Secure, Sustainable Society Together.

The objective of the session is to strengthen trade and investment relations between South Africa and Finland through the mobilisation and facilitation of new investments, expansion and nurturing of existing Finnish investments in South Africa, as well as exploring opportunities for joint ventures in technology commercialisation in mutual sectors.

Most of the discussions will centre on possible opportunities in renewable energy; Information and Communication Technology; mining technology; packaging and food hygiene, construction and finance, that the South African and Finnish companies can work together in exploring.

The Presidential Round Table will be preceded by a Business-to-Business Matchmaking engagement between the South Africa and Finnish companies. The outcome of the two interactions is expected to be an increase in trade and investment between South Africa and Finland.

Finland is an important partner to South Africa and, despite its small population and territory; it is amongst the most developed countries in the world and provides valuable trade, investment and development cooperation to South Africa. Like the other Nordics, they play an active role in global affairs, are strong advocates for multilateralism, have an excellent capacity and track record for peace and mediation efforts, and are global leaders in innovation.

Since 2010 Finland has been supportive of South Africa’s national priorities and continues to be a reliable partner in various sectors including maritime, science and technology, ICT and digitalization, environment, energy, education, skills development, agriculture and water.

President Niinistö will also be conducting a State Visit to Namibia during his Southern Africa visit. Within the SADC context, the Finnish have supported several programmes on sustainable water management. The Finnish engagement with Africa forms part of its strategic objective of increasing partnerships with Africa, including expanding its diplomatic presence, its support for the African Agenda and expanding economic relations. In this regard, Finland has adopted an Africa Strategy.

Finland is also a strong international partner in areas of various global issues such as strengthening multilateralism, international law, peacebuilding and mediation, the advancement of gender and human rights as well as around issues of renewable energy.  

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Africa

PRESIDENT RAMAPHOSA TO HOST PRESIDENT GEINGOB OF NAMIBIA FOR A STATE VISIT

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President Cyril Ramaphosa will host His Excellency President Hage Geingob of the Republic of Namibia who will undertake a State Visit to the Republic of South Africa on Thursday, 20 April 2023. 

The visit aims to solidify bilateral relations between the two countries and it is expected that President Ramaphosa and President Geingob will discuss political and economic issues including regional, continental and international matters of mutual concern, including exchanging views on the political situation in Eswatini, conflict in Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), Palestine and the Russia – Ukraine situation. 

South Africa and Namibia enjoy close historic relations and the structural bilateral relations between the two countries is conducted under the framework of a Bi-National Commission (BNC) inaugurated in 2013.

The State Visit by President Geingob will afford the two countries an opportunity to solidify their bonds of friendship through assessing progress made in the implementation of the decisions of their BNC. 

The visit will also afford the two countries an opportunity to enhance economic cooperation; explore trade and investment; and identify new areas of cooperation. 

In 2022, South Africa imported R16.1 billion from Namibia and in turn South Africa exported R56.5 billion to Namibia. 

The second session of the South Africa-Namibia BNC was held in South Africa in October of 2016. The third session is scheduled to be hosted by Namibia and meetings, at senior officials level, are underway planning for this meeting. 

The State Visit will be preceded by a bilateral meeting between the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) of South Africa, Dr Naledi Pandor and Ms Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of Namibia on 19 April 2023.

Namibia is a member of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and President Geingob Chairs the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Organ on Politics, Defense and Security Cooperation.

The last State Visit to the Republic of South Africa by the Republic of Namibia took place in November of 2012, by former President Hifikepunye Pohamba. 

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