Outgoing Indonesian Ambassador to Namibia Agustinus Sumartono last night said Indonesia is ready to welcome a new chapter of bilateral cooperation with Namibia, in the political, economic and socio-cultural sphere, under the leadership of President Hage Geingob.
Earlier yesterday morning a flag hoisting ceremony was held at the ambassador’s residence.
Speaking at the celebrations marking the commemoration of Indonesia’s 70th anniversary, at a local hotel, Sumartono said he was delighted to hear about the recent positive developments regarding the Kalimbeza rice project.
“It is a welcome contribution to Namibia’s food security, while also assisting in poverty reduction for the farmers involved,” said Sumartono.
He recalled that in 2008, Dr Taryono from Gajah Mada University went to Kalimbeza, outside Katima Mulilo, to work with the late professor Luke Kanyumeka from Unam, to explore the possibility of starting a rice plantation.
“They found that the area was suitable for growing rice, although they also identified some constraints. In the end, they worked together to overcome the obstacles and paved the way for the implementation of the Kalimbeza rice project,” reminisced Sumartono.
He said that cooperation between Gajah Mada University and Unam continues to grow. Professor Osmund Mwandemele, who is the pro-vice chancellor for academic affairs and research at Unam, led a delegation to Gajah Mada University in Yogyakarta in June this year, to explore other areas of cooperation in the fields of agriculture, veterinary and oceanic sciences and fisheries.
Sumartono said another area where Indonesia and Namibia share common concern is climate change. “Namibia is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the effects of climate change, due to desertification and severe droughts in recent years.”
He said Indonesia on the other hand is in danger of losing around 2 000 islands by 2030 if the sea level continues to rise.
“Therefore, it is important that the COP21 in Paris this coming November [formulates] a legally binding agreement to limit global temperature increases. Indonesia is committed to reduce emissions by at least 26 percent by 2020.”
He said he would be sad to leave Namibia where he and his wife have met wonderful people, developed friendships and spent interesting moments together.
“We have been here since 2012 and it is likely that by the end of this year we shall return to Indonesia. My thank you goes to colleagues from the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation, other government ministries, regional government offices, parliament, religious organisations and the diplomatic corps for their continuously good cooperation, advice and support during my tenure.”
He said his wife has made special contributions in supporting various activities of ADS (Association of Diplomatic Spouses) to help underprivileged Namibians. “So, dear friends, please support ADS in their upcoming gala dinner on the 10th of October.”
He wished Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo and President Geingob good health towards the well-being and prosperity of, and continued friendship between, the two countries.