Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva held talks in Namibia’s capital city Windhoek with the country’s President Hage Geingob on November 13, with Geingob calling for Bulgarian investment in his country.
The visit is the first by a Bulgarian Foreign Minister to Namibia, the Foreign Ministry in Sofia said. After her visit to Namibia, Zaharieva will go on to Angola.
At the talks, also attended by Namibia’s Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa, Geingob told Zaharieva: “Thank you to Bulgaria for helping in our fight for independence. We are friendly countries. Now our relations must be lifted into a new phase – in the economy. Invest in our peaceful and democratic country”.
Zaharieva said that Bulgaria had helped Namibia in its fight for independence and had been one of the first to recognise Namibia, in 1990.
“We should focus on links between businesses and between young people,” she said.
She said that Namibia could count on European-level assistance in the field of youth policy, education and culture, as these will be the spheres of the future Bulgarian European Commissioner Maria Gabriel.
Zaharieva said that Bulgaria is the fourth in economic growth in the EU and that dozens of Namibians have completed their higher education in Bulgaria.
Bulgaria was ready to re-grant scholarships to African students, especially in the field of engineering and high technology.
Geingob said he relied on Bulgaria’s experience in youth policies: “We have high youth unemployment, our education still does not meet the needs of the labour market. And young people are not ready to start their own businesses. Encouraging innovation and adding value to the raw materials we receive is important. The youth in our country must be engaged. “
During the conversation, agriculture, tourism, building start-up companies and projects in support of women’s empowerment were also highlighted as potential topics for co-operation. Both sides expressed their willingness to work for the development of the legal basis between Bulgaria and Namibia, the Foreign Ministry said.
Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry said that in the first half of 2019, mutual trade with Namibia involved only Bulgarian exports – copper ores and concentrates, electric batteries, organic products, to a total of $84.3 million.
In Angola on November 15, Zaharieva will meet her counterpart Manuel Domingos Augusto.
In the first six months of 2019, Bulgarian exports to Angola amounted to $0.8 million and imports to $3.8 million. At present, Bulgaria imports from Angola refined copper and raw copper alloys, and exports products from the chemical, automotive and light industries.
The Foreign Ministry said that main purpose of the visit is to give new impetus to Bulgaria’s relations and co-operation with sub-Saharan Africa.
“Bulgaria has traditionally good relations with African countries, and the resumption and development of relations with them are one of the main foreign policy priorities of our country.”
Bulgaria’s foreign trade relations with the region are part of the common trade and EU development co-operation policy towards sub-Saharan Africa, in which Bulgaria is actively involved, the Foreign Ministry said.