New Era (Windhoek)

Namibia: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Reports Back On 2012

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Introduction

EVERY sovereign state has a ministry or department, which coordinates the conduct of its relations with the outside world. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Namibia is the entity responsible for the formulation and execution of the foreign policy of the Government of Namibia as it involves bilateral or multilateral relations with other states and with regional and international organisations. Indeed, the ministry serves as the formal point of contact with the international community.

The Mission of the Ministry is to promote Namibia's national interests internationally in order to advance sustainable and equitable socio-economic development, international cooperation, peace and security.

This cannot be done in isolation, and as such, the ministry must liaise and coordinate with other ministries and departments, foreign governments, regional and international organisations and other stakeholders to fulfil this mandate. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to look back on a few notable achievements of the year 2012.

Bilateral Affairs

The strengthening of our bilateral political and economic relations remains the essence of sound relations between all fraternal states. Among the major highlights of 2012 were the 15 structured bilateral events i.e. the State visits, official visits by the Minister, Deputy Minister and Permanent Secretary, Joint Commissions of Cooperation, diplomatic consultations, which took place during the course of 2012.

These events are designed to build as many smart partnerships as possible where feasible and to support the priority areas of the Government of Namibia as outlined in the NDP4, which is geared towards achieving high and sustained economic growth; increased income equality and employment creation.

The building of partnerships is necessary in order for Namibia to diversify her options and create a web of political support linkages that provide access to trade, investment, transfer of technology and many other valuable inputs, like tourism inflows, that generate direct benefits for the people of Namibia.

Among the major highlights of 2012 were the State visits to Namibia by His Majesty King Mswati III of Swaziland and His Excellency Seretse Khama Ian Khama, President of the Republic of Botswana. During their visits to Namibia, both King Mswati III and President Khama visited commercial entities.

It might be recalled that President Pohamba and President Khama, during the latter's visit, expressed the need to expedite efforts towards the realisation of the Trans-Kalahari Railway project, a very important project for both our economies, which would bridge another infrastructure gap in the region.

Botswana made notable progress with regard to development of a Botswana Dry Port at Walvis Bay, which will also boost our economies. Another milestone was reached during the visit of the President of Togo His Excellency Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe in October.

Namibia and Togo entered into an umbrella Bilateral Cooperation Framework Agreement that identifies key areas of cooperation including agriculture, manufacturing, education, tourism, infrastructure development and culture.

This will no doubt increase Namibia's cooperation with Togo, which would present a new market.

A successful one-day Namibia/Nigeria business seminar took place at the NamPower Convention Centre on October 08, and brought together key private and public sector actors. The meeting could result in increased trade cooperation between the two countries.

In the spirit of economic diplomacy our foreign missions, consulates and honorary consulates in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Trade and Industry organised a number of trade missions to Namibia in 2012 with the hope to expand trade with other countries.

During President Pohamba's State visit to South Africa in November, discussions between the two presidents and their delegations paved the way for closer cooperation. One agreement and two Memoranda of Understandings were signed.

These were the agreement establishing the Bi-National Commission, the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation on issues related to Public Works and Infrastructure Development, and the memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Meteorology.

Multilateral Affairs

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs with one of its main purposes being to assert Namibia's position on regional, continental and world issues that affect her national interests has been involved in a number of multilateral meetings.

As a member state of the Regional Economic Community of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Namibia was profoundly involved in the development and execution of the robust strategy of the Southern African Region's campaign for the African Union Commission chairperson, which led to the successful election of the Her Excellency Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, during the 19th African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government in July 2012 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

During the SADC 32nd Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government held in Maputo, Mozambique from 12 to 18 August 2012, Namibia was elected to the SADC Troika of the Organ on Political, Defence and Security Affairs chaired by President Jakaya Kikwete to deputising Tanzania.

At the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly held from 25 to 30 September 2012 in New York, Namibia was one of the three countries from Southern Africa chosen to address the United Nations High Level Meeting on the Rule of Law. President Pohamba addressed the High Level Meeting on 24 September 2012.

The year 2012 can only be described as one of the most hectic, but memorable periods on the calendar of multilateral diplomacy for Namibia.

It has, indeed, elevated and calibrated our country's profile on the international arena.

Conclusion

It is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' fervent hope that the year 2013 will be characterised by enhanced cooperation, peace and understanding among the people of all nations, and that collective efforts towards social and economic development and respect for human dignity in all spheres shall bring all of us closer to each other.

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