President Hage Geingob’s attendance at the third United Nations Conference on Financing for Development in Ethiopia saw the president discussing Namibia’s investment opportunities with leaders from Sweden, Iran and the United Arab Emirates.
President Geingob met with Iranian vice-president, Mohammad Shariatmadari to discuss the possibility of Namibia accessing cheaper oil from Iran, as well as other areas of cooperation. The Iranian vice-president also extended an invitation to Geingob to visit Tehran for the purpose of strengthening bilateral relations between the two nations.
President Geingob also met with the United Arab Emirates’ Minister of International Development and Aid, Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi, where the two agreed that the two countries would pursue mutual cooperation in a number of areas.
He further met with Swedish Prime Minister, Kjell Stefan Löfvén, who expressed his commitment to ensuring that more Swedish business people visit Namibia to identify investment opportunities, especially in the energy and mining sectors.
“Such a commitment is positive, given the fact that the excellent relations that existed between the two countries prior to independence have waned in recent decades and should be reignited,” said a statement from the presidency.
The president also used his time in Ethiopia to see how that government has implemented housing delivery to the poor and visited Ethiopia’s own mass housing project in Addis Ababa.
“President Geingob was impressed by the pace at which Ethiopia has moved in rolling out its mass housing initiative. The Ethiopian government has managed to link its housing initiative to other objectives such as job creation, value addition, and promotion of savings,” the statement said.
The Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Sophia Shaningwa will soon lead a technical team to Ethiopia as part of a follow-up visit to gauge the full scope, scale and implementation of Ethiopia’s housing programme.
The president also held a follow-up meeting with Dr. Carlos Lopez, the Executive Director of Economic Affairs of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa [UNECA], who was in Namibia earlier this year, where he facilitated a Cabinet Induction Seminar.
The two agreed that UNECA would assist Namibia to develop performance contracts for all ministers by September this year, in line with the president’s pledge to do so in his statement to mark 100 days in office.
With Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, the Director of the United Nation Population Fund [UNFPA], an agreement was reached to scale up technical assistance to Namibia in order to understand how best to harness the ‘demographic dividend’.
The UNFPA says a country with increasing numbers of young people and declining fertility has the potential to reap a demographic dividend, a boost in economic productivity that occurs when there are growing numbers of people in the workforce relative to the number of dependents.
The demographic dividend also refers to the freeing up of resources for a country’s economic development and upliftment of its population as it makes the transition from an agrarian to industrial economy.