Russia Interested In Cooperation With Namibia In Various Economic Spheres

The most promising spheres of the Russo-Namibian cooperation are the exploration, production and processing of gems and semi-precious stones, fishing, oil production and geological surveys. This information was disclosed by Alexander Yakovenko, the official spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, on the eve of Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov's visit to Windhoek which begins on Friday. According to him, goods turnover between the two countries reached $14M in 2000. Namibia, in its turn, is interested in the development of bilateral cooperation in the diamond sector of economy, it is also ready to start exchanging information about the situation in the diamond industry. Namibia is also interested in Russia's assistance in building a diamond processing factory, training personnel, and geological surveys in Namibia. In line with the Agreement on cooperation in developing diamond industries of the two countries, a joint Russo-Namibian working group on diamond affairs is being set up. In 2000, during a visit of the Russian Alrosa company's delegation to Namibia, the two sides reached an agreement to conduct geological surveys and diamond extraction on two sites whose total area comprises 40,000 square kilometres. In October 2000, during a visit of the Russian natural resources ministry's delegation to Windhoek, the two countries signed a joint Protocol on cooperation in the sphere of mineral and energy resources between the Russian ministry of natural resources and the Namibian mining and energy ministry. Cooperation projects to develop Namibian on-land hydrocarbon resources are also under consideration. Fishing is yet another promising domain for cooperation. Up to ten Russian vessels are currently fishing under contract in Namibian waters. Russia is also training experts for Namibia: approximately 2,000 men have studied in Russian educational institutions. Since 1996, Russia has been annually granting 10 stipends for Namibian citizens. Another 15 stipends have been granted by the Russian Peoples' Friendship University (RPFU)) in line with 1998 Agreement on cooperation between the RPFU and the University of Namibia.

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