New Era (Windhoek)

31 July 2012

Namibia: Commonwealth SG to Visit Namibia

Windhoek — Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma is currently in Southern Africa for official visits to Botswana, Namibia and Swaziland and expected in Namibia today.

The Botswana leg of the visit started on Sunday and ended yesterday. Sharma is expected to visit Namibia starting today until Thursday during which time he will have an audience with President Hifikepunye Pohamba.

Sharma's visits to these three Commonwealth member states are part of his regular visits to Commonwealth capitals to meet leaders. The visits are aimed at promoting global and regional cooperation and at identifying ways in which the Commonwealth can advance its values - including democracy, rule of law and sustainable development - and through practical assistance programmes.

The regional tour will conclude with Swaziland, starting on Thursday and ending on Saturday. Sharma will also hold talks with His Majesty King Mswati III the King of Swaziland.

The SG will also meet the foreign ministers of these three countries. Another objective of the visits is to ensure that the concerns and priorities of a wide range of national leaders and representatives are reflected in the Commonwealth's current programme of reform and renewal. This programme is aimed at sharpening impact, strengthening networks and raising the profile of the association.

"Botswana, Namibia and Swaziland face distinct challenges of scale and vulnerability associated with their small population sizes and limited opportunities for economic diversification. Membership of the Commonwealth enables these countries' concerns and voices to be heard on the world stage," said Sharma in London ahead of his regional tour.

According to Sharma, it offers forums in which they can exchange insights and experiences with other Commonwealth small states that help reduce vulnerability and increase both economic and social resilience.

"Our guiding Commonwealth values of democracy, development and respect for diversity are the bedrock on which we take joint practical action to advance the welfare and prosperity of all our citizens and the stability of the communities in which they live and work.

These values, and the need to work towards greater economic inclusion for growth, have resonance right across Southern Africa," Sharma was quoted as saying.

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