Veteran diplomat Kaire Mbuende says Namibian missions abroad are understaffed and need dedicated officials who will be responsible for trade and investment promotion with a reasonable budget.
“Namibia has a sound investment policy accompanied by predictability of policies and political stability. The issue of skills has been pointed out as an impediment to investments,” Mbuende, who was until recently Namibia’s ambassador to the kingdoms of Belgium and the Netherlands, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, and Permanent Representative to the European Union, said in an interview with New Era.
Mbuende said his diplomatic experience range over many areas from managing development cooperation with a host of governments and multilateral institutions, networking with the private sector to promote trade and investments to managing inter-governmental processes as well as participating in intergovernmental negotiations.
“I have dealt with issues of peace and security in terms of institution-building and conflict resolutions. I participated in mediation between warring parties in the Democratic Republic of Congo and co-signed the Lusaka cease-fire agreement as a witness in my capacity as executive secretary of SADC along with special representative of the UN secretary general and the secretary general of the Organisation of African Unity, Salim Ahmed Salim,” he said.
He said he has always understood the nexus between peace and stability founded on the principles of democracy and development.
He added he participated in the development of the regional trading instrument and trade negotiations, navigating the dynamics between the different trade regimes or frameworks, bilateral and multilateral.
“These competing/complementary frameworks have continued to haunt the African continent, notwithstanding efforts at harmonisation through the tripartite agreement between SADC, COMESA and EAC, among others, and the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area,” he
He said the involvement led to the establishment of cooperation between SADC and the World Economic Forum that led to the convening of Southern Africa Economic Summits, which he co-chaired with Prof. Klaus Schwab for a period of three years.
As Permanent Representative at the UN, Mbuende said he paid particular attention to the development architecture of the world body through active participation in the Economic and Social Commission, sustainable development issues and climate change.
Turning to the genocide agreement currently under discussion in the National Assembly, Mbuende welcomed the joint declaration as progress.
“The issue of genocide is at the moment under discussion in parliament – and it is premature for one to pronounce oneself definitely. I maintain that sitting around the table to discuss the issue is progress in itself,” he said.
“Coming up with a joint text in the form of a joint declaration, irrespective of its shortcomings or pitfalls, is progress.
There is no novelty in me saying that the proposed amount of 1.1 billion euros falls far short of our expectations. That has been said by so many people already. I believe that a more favourable deal will be arrived at, given political will and Germany’s financial technical resources.”
He said it is evident that the agreement envisages a new type of relationship between the two countries with institutional mechanisms that can facilitate a deeper level of cooperation in addition to supporting the programme for the affected communities.