The Ambassador of Namibia to Finland, Bonny Haufiku, has stressed that education and the impartation of skills are crucial in negotiating trade and making a mark internationally.
Haufiku, who together with the Ambassador of Finland to Namibia, Anne Saloranta, jointly spoke to New Era in an interview yesterday noted that Namibia, like many African countries, is not “really” benefitting financially from its natural resources because of her inability to turn raw materials into processed products.
“If you are producing gold there is someone else who controls the market and will tell you how much they want to buy that gold for, because after all it’s a raw material and it’s not processed,” said Haufiku.
The Namibian Ambassador to Finland said it is high time that Namibians also participated in the production and value addition of its natural resources. But he added that it is pointless if Namibians themselves do not possess the necessary expertise.
“In order to be experts we need education. We need to be educated not only to be able to manufacture machines but to operate them, to fix them and use them properly and safely,” said Haufiku.
“The Finnish are very important trading partners for Namibia and they are also reliable partners as they have contributed enormously to the bilateral agreements,” said Haufiku.
As an area of bilateral cooperation, Haufiku noted that Namibia can benefit from the Finns’ expertise in processing raw materials while they can benefit from Namibia’s natural resources. But, he stressed, the relationship should be a mutual one where both partners benefit. “Finland is not rich in mineral resources like Namibia is but they are rich in human resources. They have the capacity to turn the raw product into a processed product and sell it on the international market and that’s what we need in order to be able to argue and determine the value of our products,” he added.
Haufiku stressed: “We want to promote trade on both sides. We can do something that can be bought by the Finnish in order to enter that market. Even the hospitality industry. We have things like biltong here which are very much loved. I’m sure if you process them and send them to Finland it can have a lot of buyers,” said Haufiku.
He added further: “The vision is that future relations between Finland and Namibia should be based on strengthening the commercial and economic ties of cooperation in the form of exchange of knowledge and technical know-how and capacity building in various economic institutions in our country.”