Namibia Won’t Be Bought into Peer Review

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By Emma Kakololo WINDHOEK Government on Friday reiterated its decision that it would only join the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) when found desirable. The country’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Marco Hausiku, expressed this view at the launch of a report by NEPRU on the APRM for Namibia. The study assesses Namibia’s status against the four APRM focus areas, reviews the country’s adoption of policies, standards and practices identified by NEPAD and also provides necessary information to Government, that might encourage it to participate in the APRM initiative. In his acceptance statement of the report by NEPRU, Hausiku remarked using the quotes of one of the most versatile writers in Afrikaans, Cornelis Jacob Langenhoven: “We will buy what we need and not what we want.” He further stressed: “This study will bring us at that stage.” The African Union (AU) summit held in Maputo 2003 took a decision that NEPAD activities be integrated into those of the AU Commission as well as its APRM initiative to encourage the adoption of policies, standards and practices on the continent that would promote political stability, sustainable development and accelerate sub-regional and continental integration. This would be done through the sharing of experiences and best practices, including in the areas of democracy, peace and security, economic policies, business, respect for human rights and good governance. Hausiku said that when the APRM was introduced, there were some countries that wanted African states to commit themselves in order to obtain bilateral financial funding, an approach that Namibia totally disapproves of. He said the best way was for a country to first realise the need to look after its people and not to be “seen in the good books” of those who have money. “There were countries who wanted us to commit if we want to be funded. But we said we want it to be voluntary. “The best way is for the country to principally realise they need to improve the socio-economic conditions of its people and not to do that for financial support.” He said Namibia was doing this on its own, and therefore there was no urgency whether to join now or after a few years. “Namibia is not joining to get assistance,” he told the meeting. By November 2004, only 23 out of 53 members states had signed up to the APRM and only three of the 23 were in the process of being reviewed. “The Namibian Government’s position on the APRM therefore remains the same. We are now presented with a document that NEPRU has ably prepared for our discussion. This is a good beginning and Government will take the discussions of this study very seriously,” he stated.

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