12 Apr 2016 14:00pm
WINDHOEK, 12 APR (NAMPA) - Namibia and Italy at a meeting last week agreed to review the progress made in selected areas of mutual benefit and to identify new areas of cooperation that will benefit the two countries.
The closed-door talks between Namibias Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah and Italian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mario Giro were held last week during his two-day working visit to Namibia.
A media statement issued by Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary (PS), Ambassador Selma Ashipala-Musavyi on Tuesday said the discussions were also attended by Pietro Giovanni Donnici, Italian Ambassador accredited to Namibia and based in Pretoria; Raffaele De Lutio, Director for Sub-Saharan Africa in the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and Gloria Ferrari from the Italian Embassy in South Africa.
Ashipala-Musavyi said the meeting was held to assess the progress made on a trade agreement between the two countries, amongst other things.
Both countries agreed on the need to work towards the realisation of the signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) proposed by Namibia during which Nandi-Ndaitwah gave her assurance that Namibia will draft the agreement soon, she said.
An ECFA aims to reduce tariffs and other commercial barriers to accelerate trade and cooperation between two economies. Trade between Namibia and Italy in 2011 stood at about N.dollars 288 million in the form of raw hides, fish and marble stone to Italy, and car spare parts, fruit and cereals from Italy to Namibia.
Nandi-Ndaitwah and Giro discussed possible cooperation in the stone and marble industry; training and skills transfer; renewable energy; leather products and tourism.
Italy is a world leader in design and fabric production and is assisting Namibia in its enhancement of skills in that area, the statement said.
In addition, Italy has offered three scholarships to qualifying Namibians to study architecture and design for one academic year during 2016 and 2017 in Italy; while 22 Namibian Police officers will be undergoing a two-week training course in criminal investigation with the Italian police in June this year.
Nandi-Ndaitwah has also confirmed that she will be attending the Africa-Italy Foreign Affairs Ministers Conference in Rome, Italy on 18 May this year. She will be taking along a Namibian business delegation.
Meanwhile, Italy requested Namibia to support its candidature for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council at the elections that will take place on 28 June this year.
Namibia has a consulate in Italy to facilitate visa applications for tourists and provide other services such as voting in national elections and passport renewal and applications to Namibians living in Italy.