Namibia-South Africa BNC 3rd session kicks off

Hertta-Maria Amutenja

Senior Officials Meeting of the Third Session of the Namibia-South Africa Bi-National Commission (BNC) has officially kicked off today in the Windhoek at the Safari Court Hotel and Conference Centre.

The commission provides opportunities for the presidents of the two countries to further enhance bilateral cooperation and serves as a platform to exchange views on issues of mutual interests and concerns.

Executive Director at the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation (Mirco), Penda Naanda, says the main objective of the Senior Officials Meeting is simply to prepare the ground for the ministerial and presidential segments of the BNC, following soon.

“Almost seven years have elapsed since the last Bi-National Commission meeting in Pretoria in 2016. Therefore, while the 3rd Session was regretfully postponed several times due to factors beyond our control, I urge all of us to redouble our efforts to ensure that we clear all the backlogs, and come up with concrete and practical plans of action to revitalise our co-operation, to recommend to our respective principals.”

“This session to which I am pleased to see representation by various government Ministries, Agencies and Offices is, therefore, an excellent platform to take stock of our cooperation thus far, and to discuss ways and means to achieve further concrete outcomes for the mutual benefit of our two countries and peoples,” he adds.

The session will review cooperation in a wide range of areas including Diplomatic and Legal, Economic, Social, and Defence Security, plus bilateral agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) that Namibia has signed with South Africa, the hugest with any bilateral partner.

Last year the session that was set to take place from 28 June to 1 July in Windhoek but was postponed.

President Hage Geingob, and his South African counterpart, President Cyril Ramaphosa, were going to chair and co- chair the meeting respectively.

However, it was delayed a cash heist, allegedly by Namibian burglars at Ramaphosa’s Limpopo farm.

Moreover Naanda says the discussions are going to be focused, action- oriented with measureable goals of making positive changes in the lives of our peoples, while deepening and broadening the two countries bilateral cooperation programme.

“I wish to close by once again underlining the vital need to turn the vast potential existing between our two countries, in terms of resources, both material and human into bankable and practical actions that will positively change the living conditions of our fraternal peoples. This is the real challenge before us during this session of our Bi National Commission,” he Naanda adds.

Naanda is co-chairing the session with South African Director General of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Zane Dangor.

The sessions were first held in November 2012.

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