WINDHOEK - Speaker of the National Assembly Professor Peter Katjavivi wants strong bilateral relations between the Parliament of Namibia and that of Japan.
Katjavivi made the call early this week when he met Japanese Members of Parliament, Hitoshi Kikawada and Ichiro Aisawa when they visited parliament in the company of Japan’s Ambassador to Namibia, Hideaki Harada.
The two Members of Parliament are part of the Japan - Africa Parliamentary Friendship Group, chaired by Aisawa.
Katjavivi hinted at cooperation related to improving the parliamentary function of oversight. “We should develop a relationship aimed at advancing good practices and we should be able to come up with a framework that would constitute our relationship. For us it’s a question of oversight in order to improve service delivery and the quality of life for our people,” said Katjavivi.
The Speaker further noted that Japan could look at other areas of development that may be mutually beneficial, adding that Namibia can be transformed into a hub for the Southern African region.
“Namibia has natural resources that could be used to create a win - win situation for both countries. Namibia might have a small population but being a peaceful country, it may be ideal to serve as a hub for the rest of SADC,” noted Katjavivi.
Ambassador Harada concurred with the Speaker’s assertion on transforming Namibia into a regional hub, adding that Japan has supported such efforts through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The agency has been a strategic partner of the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG) since 2013 and has provided technical expertise to the formulation of Namibia’s logistics masterplan.
Aisawa also shared the same sentiments, praising Namibia’s democracy and the prevailing peace, values he noted other African countries could emulate. He said Japan was looking at enhancing development in Africa and has been interested in cooperation, in the areas of human capital, medicine and health and other technical areas.
“Namibia has good governance, peace and the rule of law, therefore it is very important to push forward this corridor project. We would also like to look into areas such as human capital, medicine and health among other technical areas,” noted the Japanese MP.
He further invited Namibia to participate at the upcoming Tokyo International Conference of Africa’s Development (TICAD) as the precursor for the envisaged strong bilateral relations. The conference is scheduled for Yokohama, Japan in 2019, on a date yet to be disclosed.