President Hage Geingob yesterday received at State House letters of credence from six new ambassadors-designate of Switzerland, Canada, Singapore, Denmark, Norway and Malawi.
Swiss diplomat Helene Budliger Artieda said they discussed a wide range of national and international issues, because Namibia hosts a large number of Swiss citizens and she will try to support them. “We see a predominant role in economic and trade affairs. There are a lot of Swiss tourists visiting Namibia every year and that is for us a source of pride,” she said.
High Commissioner Sandra Mccardell of Canada, who will be based in South Africa, said she would visit Namibia frequently. “I’m delighted to present my credentials with my first moments as High Commissioner of Canada. I see my role here as further developing the warm and friendly ties that we have with Namibia.
“It’s a long history. We were present at the time of your Independence. We are extraordinarily impressed and proud of what you have accomplished and my job now is to continue to expand that friendship and to find opportunities to support Namibia in its efforts to eradicate poverty and encourage economic development,” stated Mccardell.
Coming from one of the fastest growing economies in the world, the High Commissioner of Singapore, Chau Thai-Keong, said he is delighted to help increase the commercial presence of his country in Namibia. “Every country is different. We should have your leaders come to visit. We should build economic super-highways. In physical distance it’s too far, but in today’s world of IT and globalisation we are just seconds away. Singapore could be Namibia’s partner of choice in Asia. Singapore is benefitting from being a hub in the middle of Asia and we are riding on Asia’s growth. We would like Namibia to be part of this growth. Come to Asia!” he said.
Hailing from a country with a thriving tax system and free universities paid for by taxes, Ambassador Triene Rask Thygesen of Denmark said her priorities would be to continue the strong cooperation between Namibia and Denmark. “Now it’s time to focus on work with civil society, but also on strengthening the economic sectors. I would like to discuss with government if they can learn from our experiences of many years. We have a tax system whereby we support both public sector and social services delivery in terms of money transfer from the richest part of the population to the poorest,” she said.
One of Namibia’s key partners in the fishing industry, Norway, was represented by new Ambassador Trine Skymoen. “I spoke about how to strengthen even further the very good relations between Namibia and Norway. What I would like to do is to see that those relations can be strengthened into the business sector, so that Norwegian companies can come to Namibia and establish partnerships with Namibian companies,” said Skymoen.
High Commissioner of Malawi Professor Chrissie Patricia Ndasochera Kaponda proposed a toast to good relationships, health and prosperity between the two countries. She hopes to enhance bilateral cooperation.
“As I was coming here I was looking forward to making Namibia my second home, and I do feel at home. We have issues to discuss, in terms of security and mining. Our relationship has been cordial and warm since 1997 and we are planning to soon sign the Joint Permanent Commission of Cooperation. It’s Malawi’s turn to invite Namibia to that signing ceremony. Once we do that it will strengthen the relationship and we can work on a lot of issues,” Kaponda said.
President Geingob wished the diplomats well in fulfilling their tenures and expressed a willingness to work each of them. The ceremony was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, who doubles as Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, her deputy Peya Mushelenga, as well as senior State House and government officials.