September 23, 2002

Namibia and Lusaka strengthen ties

The presidents of Namibia and Zambia held bilateral talks at Zambezi Lodge here on Saturday, September 21 to strengthen existing political, economic and social ties.

Presidents Sam Nujoma and Levy Mwanawasa held in-depth discussions on possible areas of co-operation especially in the field of agriculture. The two presidents agreed on the need for the two ministries of agriculture to establish a joint technical committee of experts to implement a joint agricultural production venture. The technical committee, according to the official communique, would consider aspects such as production modalities, areas to be set aside for production, financing arrangements and the required machinery and equipment and inputs to base on a joint venture. The initial location would be in Zambia, while further prospects of ventures would be undertaken in either country. The communique expressed hope that the joint venture in agriculture would start off many initiatives between the two countries.

In the same vein, the presidents also discussed Namibia's desire to tap water from the Zambezi river for irrigation purposes, especially for the planned sugar cane project in Caprivi. The heads of state agreed that the project is important to Namibia and to the country's economy and that it would assist in employment creation for the youth. They also discussed the need for the finalisation of the Zambia-SACU (Southern African Customs Union) trade agreement to enhance trade between the two countries. Energy needs were also on the two leaders' agenda. The heads of state appreciated the progress made by power utilities Zesco and NamPower in dealing with the issue of increasing electricity supply to Katima Mulilo through the new Victoria Falls-Katima Mulilo interconnection project. (THE NAMIBIAN)

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