Promote economic diplomacy

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By Eveline de Klerk

SWAKOPMUND –  The successful implementation of the policy on economic diplomacy demands a critical analysis and deep understanding of the dynamics of international trade and commerce, says President Hifikepunye Pohamba.

Pohamba made the statement when he officially opened the 7th five-day Heads of Mission Conference currently underway in Swakopmund.

The conference, which is being attended by Namibian diplomats, consuls and former diplomats, has the theme “Enhancing Economic  Diplomacy in Pursuance of Namibia’s Foreign Policy.”

Currently Namibia has 28 diplomatic missions abroad and is represented by 34 honorary consuls in various countries.

The aim of the conference is to give heads of mission an opportunity to review the implementation of Namibia’s foreign policy and adopt other policy documents that will further enhance efficiency of foreign services.

The missions are mandated to protect the interests of Namibia abroad and negotiate various agreements and memoranda of understanding with governments or organizations to which they are accredited.

They promote friendly relations between Namibia and host countries and market Namibian products, while promoting trade and investment.

The conference will devise ways to effectively market Namibia as an investment and tourism destination and align the missions’ activities with the objectives of the 4th National Development Plan.

Pohamba said it is required that diplomats and relevant government officials and agents work together to continue identifying  economic sectors where Namibia has the most competitive and comparative advantages and also to focus on  attracting investors.

“It should be noted that the pursuit of economic diplomacy entails strengthening south-south cooperation and regional economic integration, boosting intra-African trade and learning from  developing countries that have managed to industrialise their economies – as well as to create employment and reduce poverty,” the president explained.

He added that in order for Namibia to succeed, the country should  establish strategic partnerships that will enable the country to achieve its national goals as encapsulated in the national development plans and Vision 2030.

“In addition to the focus on traditional sectors of the economy such as mining, fishing and agriculture more efforts should be orientated towards taking advantage of the opportunities in new industries such as information communication technology, logistics and the service sectors.  For instance, more should be done to market the immense potential of the West Coast Cable System that has a landing point here in Swakopmund.  This infrastructure should be marketed as one of Namibia’s strong points in the area of ICT competitiveness.  It is therefore important that we do more to focus on the industries of the future,” Pohamba said.