Nam-China relations must be mutually beneficial: DTA

25 Apr 2014 14:00pm
WINDHOEK, 25 APR (NAMPA) – The DTA of Namibia president McHenry Venaani says Namibia-China relations must be beneficial for both countries.
Venaani made the remarks at a media conference here on Thursday when his party welcomed three new members from opposition parties.
“The DTA of Namibia believes that the relationship between Namibia and China should be leveraged to the extent that both nations truly enjoy the benefits thereof,” he said.
The public perception regarding the Namibia-China relationship is generally negative, “due to the awarding of large-scale public infrastructure development projects to Chinese firms in the absence of open and competitive tender process”, the DTA leader said.
He said this to also due to alleged non-adherence by Chinese firms to Namibian labour legislation, resulting in alleged mistreatment of Namibian workers by their Chinese employers.
“Furthermore, the DTA believes that the Namibia-China relationship should aim for more equal trade between the two countries.
While numerous Chinese goods are imported and sold in Namibia, our country’s products have found little penetration in the massive Chinese market,” he complained.
Similarly, Venaani said, his party believes that China’s involvement in Namibia should extend beyond the retail of foreign manufactured goods and primary resource exploitation.
According to him, any mutually beneficial relationship between Namibia and China must involve a clear focus on the establishment of a downstream value-addition sector in the country.
“Prioritising the development of such a downstream value-addition sector in Namibia should ideally be the product of a Value Addition Policy, which the DTA believes can be developed cooperatively between the two countries,” he stated.
Venaani also called on the establishment of a number of Namibia-China centres in China to act as channels of communication and information.
This, he said, would also serve as effective tools of ‘soft diplomacy’ in facilitating the relationship between the two countries.
The DTA believes that the relationship between Namibia and China should extend beyond the unconditional commitment of support at international platforms, he noted.
Such support, he advised, should not merely be secured by means of soft loans, but it should be remembered that Namibia deserves to be an equal partner in any relationship with any country.