The Namibian Ambassador to the Nordic Countries, Theresia Samaria, has praised the current cooperation that exists between Namibia and the developed world, noting that as a developing nation, Namibia is grateful for any partnerships formed with those in the developed countries.
Samaria said this in a keynote speech at the Municipal International Cooperation (MIC) gathering that is under way at Walvis Bay.
The Municipal International Cooperation (MIC) is a partnership between 17 Norwegian municipalities and municipalities in Africa.
Its overall strategic goal is for good governance to be included in municipal governance and municipal services as part of the global fight for poverty reduction and sustainable development in line with the millennium development goals.
Samaria stressed the importance of local authorities to the development of any country, noting that the local authority is an ideal vehicle of information and project implementation between society and the central government.
The Nordic Ambassador, who is a former mayor of Walvis Bay, was instrumental in driving efforts that would see Walvis Bay benefiting from the MIC initiative.
She said one of the main objectives of the partnership is to bring forward previously disadvantaged groups.
“For a very long time women, senior citizens and those with special needs, who are often called handicapped persons, have been excluded from many aspects in society. This cooperation between the towns brought change so that all people in this society have the assurance of inclusion at all levels,” she said.
Samaria urged those present, who included delegates from various municipalities around Africa, to foster working relations amongst themselves, and not only rely on the involvement of developed countries to achieve this.
She said while programmes such as the MIC, north-south cooperation was ensured, African municipalities and other stakeholders should also consider forming south-south partnerships.
Samaria, who is also a former Namibia High Commissioner to Botswana, cited the inter-municipal relationships that the Namibian harbour town enjoys as an example of such a partnership.
She also tasked participants at the five-day gathering to share experiences on best practices and lessons learned in order to assist one another during deliberations.
“It has been said that a candle does not lose anything when it passes on light to another. Let us actively share knowledge and experiences amongst one another. I thank all those candles that have passed on the light and in anticipation of the light getting even brighter, I wish each one of you the best in your presentations,” she concluded.
The MIC programme has achieved tremendous growth over the years since its inception in 1997. Today, the programme includes 16 partnerships, and an even bigger growth is projected for the next few years.
Currently, the Namibian towns of Walvis Bay and Tsumeb represent the country on this international body. Under these partnerships, various projects are supported financially or through the sharing of expertise.
In Walvis Bay, such support comes through projects that include improvement of communication between staff and politicians. The meeting ends Friday.