By Francis Tsawayo WINDHOEK The Office of the High Commissioner of Malaysia to the Republic of Namibia celebrated their country’s National day to mark 49 years of independence, attained on August 31, 1957. In her address, High commissioner Hayati Ismail said that this year marked an important milestone in her country’s development efforts as the 9th Malaysia plan which is the first of three Malaysian plans that form the National Mission to achieve Vision 2020 was launched early this year. The High Commissioner elaborated that the ninth Malaysia Plan is significant in the context of building prosperity in her home country as the nation is currently at the mid-point of the journey towards the year 2020. Ismail described the next 15-year period as more challenging as her country takes the next step to begin the second phase of its Vision 2020, noting that no country has been spared by the rise in oil costs. Ismail cited Malaysia’s successes such as the hosting of the first East Asia Summit held in Kuala Lumpur in 2005 under its chairmanship of ASEAN, the Association of South East Asia countries. Malaysia will also pass on the chair of the Non-Aligned Movement to Cuba at the forthcoming NAM Summit on September 11-16. Among the proud achievements of NAM during Malaysia’s tenure, Ismail noted the establishment of the News Network that facilitated the sharing of news amongst the 116 members and the NAM Institute for the Empowerment of Women (NIEW), which is aimed at addressing a number of key issues involved in the field of gender development. Speaking on the relationship between Namibia and Malaysia, Ismail said: “Malaysia is keen to continue its participation directly or indirectly, in Namibia’s efforts towards building a healthy and vibrant nation by 2030.” Malaysia, itself a developing country and comprising a diverse population from different races and ethnic groups, can appreciate the many and varied challenges faced by Namibia in striving to achieve balanced socio-economic development. The prevailing peace and continued progress enjoyed by Namibia since its independence 16 years ago is a testimony of the desire of Namibians in all walks of life to build a nation that they can become proud of, Ismail conveyed. Ismail also highlighted the support that both countries have enjoyed, an issue that was also touched upon by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lempy Lukas, who noted in her address that Namibia and Malaysia continue to maintain excellent bilateral relations, cemented by South-South cooperation and the Langkwaki International Dialogue. Lukas also noted the assistance that Namibia has received through various development programmes such as technical Cooperation Programmes through either the Malaysian National Institute of Public Administration or the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations to train Namibians in the fields of international relations, economic, scientific, technical, education and health. “The Malaysian Technical Cooperation’s approach in Namibia is not only to establish networking at personal level, social and business levels but also to focus on enhancing strategic partnerships as well as to promote better productivity, protecting the environment and helping the people achieve better education and health care for all as well as widening opportunities for young Namibians,” she said. Minister Lukas added that the role played by the government of Malaysia to encourage Malaysian business persons to invest in Namibia is an appreciated move that forms an integral part of the long history of continued support that further strengthens a common effort to develop the economies of both counties and improve the living conditions of both populations.
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