Xinhua | 16 March 2016
Chinese investment in Namibia grows to US$4.6bn
Namibia is home to more than 40 Chinese companies that are making about US$4.6 billion per year, Chinese ambassador to Namibia Xin Shunkang has said.
Xin said all the companies employ more than 6,000 Namibians.
He said currently, the value of investments by Chinese companies in Namibia is about US$3 billion.
China and Namibia signed the Reciprocal Investment and Protection Agreement in August 2005, while a Foreign Investment Act has yet to be brought before the Namibian parliament.
Xin said the embassy encourages Chinese companies to increase their investment, deepen cooperation with local companies, and employ more local people.
So far, he said the Chinese Embassy has been involved in skills development, taking various measures to help with skills development for Namibians, especially the youth.
Ambassador Xin mentioned workshops on health, management, agriculture and media as among those China has been involved in and where more than 100 Namibians took part.
He further said they also offer scholarships to Namibians through the Ministry of Education to study in China.
As part of skills transfer, China is involved in the construction of the Namibian Youth Training Centre at Grootfontein about 460 kilometres from the capital Windhoek.
In 2011 and 2012, Chinese investments in Namibia grew by US$179 million, while by the end of 2013, China's total investment in Namibia stood at US$3.9 billion.
Most of the investments are concentrated in the mining and manufacturing sectors.
Late last year, ambassador Xin in another interview said China was discussing the construction of a railway line between Tsumeb and the port harbour of Walvis Bay that was estimated to cost more than US$500 million.
"A Chinese company is in discussions with the Ministry of Works and Transport to build a railway (line) from Tsumeb to Walvis Bay. It will transport cargo and passengers. "The issue was how to raise the funds. The Ministry had the budget, but it could not release the funds on time. "However, the Chinese company said that was not an issue; they could provide the funds to start the construction, and the Namibian Government could repay at a later time," he was quoted saying then.
China was also considering building a modern highway for Namibia connecting Hosea Kutako International Airport with Katutura, Windhoek's sprawling township, to improve the local traffic infrastructure.
Ambassador Xin said this project was expected to cost more than 100 million U.S. dollars. "In China we have a saying: If you want to be rich, it's better to build a road. When people connect with each other, they acquire new ideas," he said.
According to Xin, the Chinese government was working on at least 10 new projects for Namibia, spanning various sectors such as transport, education and health. "In line with the Agreement on Bilateral Economic and Technological Cooperation, China provided Namibia with free aid of 29 million U.S. dollars in 2013 and 16 million dollars to date this year," the ambassador noted.
By far the most prominent milestone in Chinese investment came in the form of the joint venture between Chinese state-owned company China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGNPC) and Namibian state-owned mining company Epangelo Mining, with Epangelo' s acquisition of a stake in the Husab Uranium mine.
With CGNPC's total long-term investment of US$5 billion, Husab Mine will make Namibia the second largest uranium producer in the world, providing 2,000 permanent jobs and 4,000 temporary jobs while contributing at least 5 percent to the Namibian GDP growth.
Chinese companies are also planning to invest in maize and tobacco farming in the Zambezi region.
"The environment in Zambezi is very good and the land is fertile. The companies are now doing the preparatory work. Once the project starts, it will create jobs for 5,000 young people," the ambassador stated.