WINDHOEK – The new Indian High Commissioner to Namibia, Prashant Agrawal, said his country – the world’s sixth largest by nominal GDP – intends to boost investment and economic ties with Namibia.
Speaking at the reception to mark India’s 70th Republic Day in Windhoek last Friday, Agrawal said there is significant Indian investment in the mining sector in Namibia, and his country would be happy to enhance it further.
“Namibia occupies a very special place in my country’s hearts,” he said, adding it was way back in 1946, way before independence that India inscribed on the agenda of the UN General Assembly the problem of colonial oppression and racial discrimination in South Africa and Namibia.
“We stood shoulder-to-shoulder with you and rejoiced as the first Swapo embassy anywhere in the world was opened in New Delhi in 1986 by Founding President Honorable Sam Nujoma, who was received with full state honours as a state guest on a state visit by India,” he added.
Agrawal said such strongly rooted historical ties have forged both countries’ developmental cooperation.
“It is a matter of great pride for us that our capacity building programmes in a very diverse range of sectors have been found useful by hundreds of Namibian officials,” he said.
He said some of the many distinguished alumni of his country’s Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme are prominent Namibians who serve in the public and other sectors.
He said India is also closely working together to equip Namibia’s younger generations with cutting edge skills.
He said the Centre of Excellence for IT at the Namibian University of Science and Technology (Nust), being established jointly and which would be powered by a super-computer from India, is just one such example.
He noted the International Solar Alliance welcomed Namibia in its fold last year.
“With its abundant sunshine, Namibia is an ideal place to harness solar energy. We are happy to note that one of the world’s leading solar power companies from India, ‘Sterling Wilson’, executed a 45 MW solar plant in Mariental recently,” he said.
According to the high commissioner, India itself is on track to achieve a target of 100 000 MW of solar power by 2022.
He said India was privileged to have Minister for Trade, Industry and SMEs Tjekero Tweya visit India last week, where he represented Namibia at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit.
“We explored how we can boost our economic ties further. In this effort, partners such as India- Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry have provided valuable support,” he said.
“Our cultural and people-to-people contacts, especially among the younger generations, help us understand each other better. Famous Namibian singer Sally Boss Madam is one fine example,” he added.
He said the Indian community in Namibia is very small but effective, and been making significant and meaningful contributions in the country.
“They are a valuable link between our two countries. We are proud of you,” he said.