Jia Qinglin (贾庆林), chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), arrived in Windhoek on Thursday for an official visit, at the invitation of the National Council of Namibia, the upper house of parliament. The National Council is constituted by delegates from the country’s regional councils, and the ruling SWAPO currently holds 24 out of 26 seats there. Jia said the China-Namibia relationship had developed smoothly since the two countries forged diplomatic ties in 1990, hailing frequent high-level exchanges and fruitful cooperation in politics, trade, culture, education and public health, reports Xinhua.
The Namibian writes that the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) had called on the government to ban “piecemeal type” foreign investors who don’t create jobs or boost economic growth, but rather “kill” existing local businesses. And Tjekero Tweya, the country’s newly appointed deputy trade and industry minister, suggested that as a country with developed technology, China should explore and invest (with local participation) in breaking new frontiers rather than bringing in skills and technology that already exists in Namibia.
Trade and industry minister Hage Geingob announced new provisions for the country’s Foreign Investment act. He intended to exclude foreign investment from certain small and medium enterprise (SME) sectors. Much of his concern had been sparked by the “activities of Chinese businesspersons”, according to the Namibian.
“As a ‘true friend’ of Namibia, we expect China to assist (through cooperation) us to develop the industrialisation vision of Namibia as stated in Vision 2030 instead of importing unskilled labour and resources which already exist in Namibia,” added Tweya.
The road of Namibia’s relations with China is bumpier than Jia Qinglin’s pre-visit statement might suggest. Namibia’s finance minister announced in summer last year that his country would no longer make use of a US-$ 100 mn export buyers credit provided by the Export-Import Bank of China (ExIm). Also in July 2009, Namibia launched an investigation into allegations of bribery in a government contract with Chinese state-owned Nuctech Company Ltd. According to a New York Times article on the dark side of China aid, the investigation is still in progress.