Vice-President Nickey Iyambo has stressed that the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) with the European Union (EU) should be interpreted carefully to benefit the citizens of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States.
Iyambo believes that if mishandled, the agreements may impoverish and bring more suffering to the affected countries. He made the remarks when he officiated at the opening ceremony of the 42nd ACP and 31st EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in the capital yesterday.
The joint assembly will run until Wednesday and has drawn about 350 parliamentarians from 28 European Union (EU) countries and 79 ACP countries. When he opened the event, Iyambo maintained that there is a need for partner countries to ensure a growth at home strategy, as well as fair and just sustainable development among cooperation partners.
“We have been following the Namibia/SADC EPA negotiations with keen interest,” Iyambo told delegates to the assembly. “It is important that we get it right from the onset in managing Africa’s food security, freshwater security and energy security. Africa’s population is projected to double by 2050.
“This population should be supported by an ample food basket through Africa’s own potential in the agro-food development sector, as well as water conversion and energy development abilities.”
Iyambo added that EPAs should make a positive contribution in this regard. He explained that in the case of Namibia, President Hage Geingob has devised the Harambee Prosperity Plan. According to the VP, this a strategic approach aims to provide specific pathways that will feed into the national development plan, so as to enable Namibia to expeditiously achieve its sustainable development goals.
“As I said earlier, I have noted with interest that the conference has got a number of side events, including meetings to showcase what Namibia has to offer in a number of aspects, like conservancies and solar energy… Despite the harsh weather conditions, this country provides great potential in terms of its natural resources.”
National Assembly Speaker Prof Peter Katjavivi, who is hosting the event, indicated that a wide range of topics is to be discussed to shape a brighter future for the ACP-EU partnership.