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Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Yiming at the Opening Ceremony of the Highway Upgrade Project
Constructed by Henan International Corporation
2018/03/01

H.E. Dr. Hage G. Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia,

Hon. John Mutorwa, Minister of Works and Transport,

Ladies and gentlemen:

Good morning, everyone!

I am very pleased to be invited to attend the opening ceremony of the 110km highway upgrade project from Okamatapati to Grootfontein undertaken by Henan International Corporation and witness this important achievement of China-Namibia practical cooperation. After three and a half years, the project was successfully completed with the joint efforts of nearly 800 engineers from both China and Namibia. It greatly reduced the distance between Namibia's northern regions and South Africa, and facilitated the personnel exchanges and logistics transportation. It is believed that this project will improve the development of towns along the road, create more jobs, promote commercial prosperity, and bring tangible benefits to the local people.

As China's 40 years of "reform and opening up" shows, “in order to be rich, you must build roads first", transportation infrastructure is the basis and important guarantee for economic and social development. This valuable practical experience is also applicable in Namibia. As an important country in the SADC region and the logistics and distribution center for neighboring landlocked countries, Namibia has a significant geographical advantage. A complete infrastructure will be a “catalyst” that transforms the geographical advantage into economic growth and industrial development. In the Harambee Prosperity Plan put forward by H.E. Dr. Hage Geingob, infrastructure construction is a key and fundamental part, which fully reflects his long-term vision and insight. I am sure that under the leadership of H.E. Dr. Geingob, there will be more quality roads constructed like the one under our feet, which will become traffic arteries that boost the economic development of Namibia.

As Chinese ambassador, I am very pleased to see that Henan International Corporation from China was chosen to be the contractor of this project. Meanwhile, I am more than delighted that they did not fail the expectations of Namibian friends and have successfully completed the construction, displaying the high speed and good image of China. Henan International Corporation is one of the benchmarks of Chinese companies in Namibia and has won Namibia's “Government Quality Project Award” four times. Among them, the Okahandja to Karibib two-lane highway has become a model in Namibia, and Rundu to Elundu road project was completed more than nine months ahead of schedule while ensuring the high standards and quality as well. In fact, no matter whether it is road, bridge, airport or harbor project, we can always find Chinese companies and Chinese engineers diligently working there. They live on this "brave land" as their home and provide excellent products and quality services for the development of their "second home". Since the Johannesburg Summit of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum in 2015, Chinese companies have built, repaired, or upgraded highways and roads in Namibia for a total of 468 kilometers, providing skills training for hundreds of local people. They have made irreplaceable contributions to Namibia’s economy growth and improve the living standards of local people.

In March of this year, H.E. Dr. Hage Geingob, President of Namibia, paid a historic state visit to China, and the two heads of state agreed to upgrade China-Namibia relations to Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership, which is the highest level of China’s foreign relations. It inherits our all-weather friendship and remarks the new starting point for future cooperation between our two countries. “Comprehensive” means in-depth cooperation in various fields including infrastructure, agriculture, tourism and so on. I hope, in the near future, more and more Chinese companies, talents, and funds will flow to Namibia for win-win cooperation. Undoubtedly, the interest tie between us will be strengthened and the field of cooperation will be broadened.

As a Chinese saying goes, "nothing, not even mountains and oceans, can separate friends with shared goals and vision". Despite the geographical distance between us, China-Namibia friendship is long-standing and everlastingly new, and will definitely burst out new vitality in this new stage of Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership. I believe that in the future, there will be more projects embodying the friendship between our two countries and more cooperation between Chinese and Namibian companies. Together, we can achieve an early realization of the Harambee Prosperity Plan.

Thank you!

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