Russia has reiterated calls for stronger economic ties with Namibia amid a visit by Russia's Natural Resources Minister Yuri Trutnev to the mineral-rich African country.
Trutnev, leading a powerful delegation of Russian business people, officially opened the Namibia-Russia Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation Thursday in Namibia's capital, Windhoek, the Namibia Press Agency (NAMPA) reported.
Trutnev told participants at the meeting that the two countries desperately need to work together to answer questions that are holding them from signing several bilateral agreements that are supposed to pave the way to greater economic cooperation.
"There is a large gap between good relations that are only verbal and existing bilateral relations that are put in practice. For the past 15 years, trade volumes between our two countries have decreased by 12 times, that is not desirable," he was quoted as saying.
Trutnev said his country is interested in oil, hydro-electric power and tourism.
He said officials representing both countries at the sessions of the intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation must make serious strides towards the signing of all trade and development agreements to give the two countries a chance to develop and improve the livelihood of their respective peoples.
Established one year ago, the commission is tasked mainly with supervising the implementation of the bilateral agreement on trade and economic cooperation signed in 1997. The commission was also responsible for developing cooperation in trade, investment, finance, science, and technology.
Speaking at the same occasion, Namibia's Education Minister Nangolo Mbumba said the bilateral relations between Namibia and Russia are excellent and there are over 20 bilateral agreements in existence, covering a broad range of cooperation in the areas of education, health, mining, exploration, transport services, border control, policing, defense and security, sciences, tourism and trade promotion.