- Visiting Namibia, South African President Jacob Zuma today was told that progress was too slow when it comes to build new infrastructure links between the two neighbours and removing border crossing restrictions. Namibia fears for promised World Cup benefits.
President Zuma was welcomed in the best way by his Namibian counterpart Hifikepunye Pohamba, and the two immediately sat down to sign new accords that would deepen ties between the two countries, including increased trade and new infrastructure projects.
But Namibian President Pohamba had brought his Transport Minister to the meeting, and was quite clear with President Zuma: The treaties between South Africa and Namibia are already numerable, but when it comes to implementing them, South Africa could indeed do better.
In particular on the energy sector, Namibia is still waiting for the promised upgrading of electricity supplies by South African power utility Eskom, a company that has experienced serious problems during the last years. President Zuma assured his Namibian counterpart he would now urge Eskom to fast-track already existing power agreements between the two countries.
The major focus of the meeting was on cross-border transport; also an area where Namibians are getting impatient about South African delays. A new maritime and shipping agreement was signed by the two countries' transport minister.
Also, Presidents Zuma and Pohama committed to ensure the speedier implementation of several regional land-based infrastructure projects the two countries embarked on. These, according to Pretoria sources, include the Trans-Kalahari Rail initiatives, a project involving South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.
The thorniest issue that was discussed during the meeting was that of the movement of tourists between South Africa and Namibia during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. President Pohamba conceded that the benefits to South Africa's neighbours during the tournament were hindered by restricted cross border movement.
"The potential will not fully materialise if the matter of cross border operations by Namibian tour operators is not addressed," the Namibian President as quoted as saying by South African government sources. The same sources did not report any new promises made on the issue by President Zuma.
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