The Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, met with Pres. Geingob to discuss ways in which China will help Namibia develop economically and implement plans and ideas discussed during the Forum for China Africa Cooperation Summit in South Africa in 2015.
The Foreign Minister urged Chinese nationals who operate businesses in Namibia to respect Namibian laws. Reports of mistreatment of Namibians by Chinese businessmen had surfaced over the years.
China pledged to assist Namibia “to create new growth areas through cooperation in the marine economy as well as ports,” according to the Feb. 8, 2016 article in www.newera.com.na.
This is worrisome for a number of reasons. China is a primary processor of Cape fur seal oil (marketed as a health food supplement and sometimes illegally exported to countries with bans on such items). China also deals in seal fur. China is the main importer of seal penises, which are considered aphrodisiacs by some Chinese people.
Seal products are considered part of the “marine economy” and are regulated by the Namibian Department of Fisheries and Marine Resources. Should China expand direct ties with Namibia in this sphere, more seals may be killed.
In addition, Namibia currently exports most of the seafood caught in its territorial waters to other African nations and to Spain. Spanish fleets are the main license holders. If China becomes a new major importer of Namibian seafood, already over-fished species could approach the brink of extinction. This is bad for the fish, the ocean ecosystem, and the seals, who need to eat fish to survive.