July 14, 2004

Economic agreements signed with Tanzania, Kenya and Italy

Namibia and Tanzania have agreed to expand their social, political, economic and cultural co-operation, according to a joint statement issued after a visit by Namibian President Sam Nujoma. "Other specific areas for co-operation include trade and investment, fisheries, mining, agriculture, education, communication and transport," added the communiqué.

A trade agreement aimed at boosting continental integration has also been signed with Kenya. The pact seeks to improve co-operation in agriculture, science and technology, communications, sports, tourism and peace-keeping personnel training. President Nujoma, said he was impressed by Kenya's agricultural development, and invited Kenyans to set up agricultural bases in Namibia. The two Presidents also expressed concern at international terrorism threats, and called on African countries and the world at large to respect and enforce international treaties.

A reciprocal investment promotion and protection agreement between Namibia and Italy has furthermore been seen as the culmination of negotiations between the two countries on the content of the agreement over a period of 18 months. The purpose of the agreement, stated Minister of Trade and Industry Jesaya Nyamu, was to enhance trade and investment flows between the two countries by providing investors with an enabling environment within which they could operate without the fear of losing investment capital through arbitrary or unfair measures by the contracting states. "Italian investors operating and hoping to settle in Namibia will now have an additional protection through this agreement. It clearly sets out their rights and obligations in Namibia, and conditions under which they are entitled to fair and just compensation from the state," said Nyamu at the signing ceremony.
Henceforth, said the minister, relations between Namibia and Italy would be enhanced from "mainly matters of cultural and political goodwill" with an added strong economic component through the government's policy of economic diplomacy pursued by Namibian foreign missions. The agreement covers issues such as the definition of investors and investments, the promotion and protection of investments by contracting parties, national treatment and the most favoured nation states, expropriation and compensation of losses, transfer of capital, and settlement of disputes between investors and contracting parties.

Current exports to Italy include fish, raw hides, skins, leather, and dimension stones. Italian exports to Namibia are mainly fruits, nuts, ceramic products, vehicle parts and accessories. The value of exports to Italy amounts to N$243 million with imports from Italy standing at N$40 million. (The Namibian, Windhoek / New Era, Windhoek)

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