Windhoek – Namibian Deputy Minister of International Relations Jenelly Matundu says the Southern African country is going for broke in rapidly building regional and international partnerships to stimulate economic recovery and growth.
Addressing diplomats accredited to Windhoek this week, Deputy Minister Matundu said economic engagement would be at the centre of Namibia’s foreign policy.
“The main goal is to promote our economic diplomacy for the economic recovery. In pursuance of our economic diplomacy, Namibia has ratified several international instruments, including the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) in 2019, which requires members to remove tariffs from 90 percent of goods to allow free access to commodities, goods and services across the continent, this will then contribute to the realisation of the AU Agenda 2063, and relief the burden of youth unemployment on the continent,” Deputy Minister Matundu said.
She said international engagement would prioritise promotion of Namibia’s national interest of wealth creation and poverty eradication in a sustainable manner.
“Namibia has indeed felt the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to a significant GDP reduction and we find ourselves in a situation that has compelled the government to make serious adjustments to the way we carry out our activities to ensure the continuation of programmes and maintain the visibility of Namibia abroad and in line with Vision 2030, as elaborated in (National Development Plan 5) and operationalised in the Harambee Prosperity Plan II.
“Vision 2030, Namibia’s National Development Plans and the Harambee Prosperity Plan II serve as overarching instruments that guide our policy on international relations and co-operation. These instruments ensures that we are on the right trajectory in meeting our development needs,” she said.
The deputy minister reiterated that Namibia’s remained committed to multilateralism.
“We must work together with other countries to attain the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals. Our membership in multilateral bodies is of high importance and Namibia will use the platforms to call for the strengthening of the strategic and multilateral partnerships.
“One of our key partners in ensuring the successful implementation of the HPP II is the international community, through bilateral or multilateral collaboration. In this regard, we will continue to rely on your support and assistance to ensure a prosperous Namibia,” she said.
Deputy Minister Matundu said Namibia stood to gain much from greater regional integration, as the country had positioned itself to becoming a logistics hub.
“What is required during this time of economic recovery from the impact of COVID-19, is aggressive and effective engagement with regional and international partners, in order to harness the potential of trade and investment opportunities. The Harambee Prosperity Plan II has given us a clear mandate in this regard, including how to work with local and international business communities to advance economic diplomacy,” she said.
She went on: “Namibia will continue to participate in Regional and International fora, to derive maximum benefit geared towards the implementation of our National Development Plans, especially in particular areas of inter-Africa trade, regional development of value chains, infrastructure and agricultural development, and women and youth empowerment, amongst others.
“With this in mind, Namibia has established an AU-SADC National Committee in line with our international treaty obligations as per Article 96 of our Constitution that outlines our foreign policy aspirations.”