AfCFTA signing can boost Namibia’s beef market: Geingob

08 Jul 2018 15:30pm
WINDHOEK, 08 JUL (NAMPA) – Namibia’s signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement could facilitate its beef export ambitions to the rest of the continent, but the Red Line must be removed for maximum benefits to be reaped.
These were the sentiments of President Hage Geingob when interviewed by the media at the Eros Airport on Saturday after his trip to Nigeria and Mauritania for the African Union (AU) Summit.
“Our beef is demanded. But we don’t have beef. We just talk about beef, but we don’t have enough cattle. We have to open up the Red Line so we can have more beef,” he said.
When put to the president if talk of the Red Line’s removal was just rhetoric, he said: “The opening of the Red Line is not a question of whether you want it or not. It is a question of a health situation, about our other markets.”
He went on: “Unless you also address the other side in Angola; cattle are moving freely… if the Angolan cattle are not treated, they will bring the diseases. But it’s a thing we must address.”
According to Geingob, the situation cannot continue unabated whereby Namibia is divided by the Red Line, 28 years after independence.
The pest exclusion fence separates northern Namibia from the central and southern areas of the country.
Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila at the same briefing confirmed that bilateral talks between Namibia and Angola over the erection of a border fence between the two countries have commenced.
“The process is ongoing. It has been ongoing for a long time. And of course, the erection of a fence at the border is just one aspect of dealing with the issue,” said the premier.
More so, Geingob said the possibility of exporting Namibia’s beef and beef experts to Nigeria featured in his discussion with his Nigerian counterpart, Muhammadu Buhari.
“People consider us as very advanced in (the) meat (industry). They are even asking for services, not only meat. Nigeria is even asking that we must send experts in meat processing,” he remarked.
Asked what other commodities Namibia envisages to export, instead of just importing through the AfCFTA, Geingob pointed to tourism, processed minerals such as diamonds and free movement.
“We told them Namibia is a boutique country. Come and see how things are well organised,” he added.
Geingob paid Buhari a courtesy visit after attending the AU summit.
“President Buhari and I had good talks. We exchanged views, again on the same problems: corruption, inequalities... all of them are talking the same language on inequality. And you cannot have societies that are unequal and have peace forever,” he said.
Geingob also attended the funeral of Professor Adebayo Adedeji in Ogun State on Saturday.
“They appreciated our being there. I was asked to address the church,” he said, before noting that a symposium was also held on Adedeji’s legacy on economic development in Africa.
Adedeji, the former Executive Secretary to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, died on 25 April in Lagos after a protracted illness, aged 87.