Windhoek – Namibia’s permanent secretaries are to benefit from increased bilateral relations between Namibia and Singapore, which were agreed on during a formal two-day visit by Singaporean Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Defence, Foreign Affairs and Mayor of Central Singapore District, Dr Mohamed Maliki Bin Osman.
This was said during a joint press briefing by the Singaporean delegation and the Minister of International Relations Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, held at a local hotel in Windhoek on Saturday.
According to Nandi-Ndaitwah, Namibia and Singapore have enjoyed beneficial relations since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries in November 1994. She said there has since been an exchange of state visits between the two countries to strengthen the already excellent relations – when Namibia’s second president Hifikepunye Pohamba visited Singapore in 2006, followed by a visit by Singapore’s then President Nathan.
Osman said his visit to Namibia, on the invitation of Nandi-Ndaitwah, was to take stock of the current relations between Namibia and his country and to see where they can be improved.
According to him, they can assist Namibia in the enhancement of its e-governance programme.
He paid a courtesy call on President Hage Geingob and the Prime Minister as well as to the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Chief Justice. Osman said he is impressed by Namibia’s programmes such as Vision 2030 and President Geingob’s Harambee Prosperity Plan to out root poverty.
He also announced that Singapore would train Namibian civil servants, especially permanent secretaries, at Singapore’s College for Civil Servants. According to Nandi-Ndaitwah this is just one of the areas of bilateral relations that were discussed. She said Singapore has an excellent record of developing its 700 square kilometres with a total population of about five million inhabitants and Namibia can learn a lot from them. Areas of cooperation that were discussed include e-governance, transport and communications as well as skills development.
It was also agreed that Nipam (Namibia’s training centre for civil servants) and Singapore’s College for Civil Servants will engage each other in cooperation. The Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry was also involved in the discussions with their counterparts from Singapore, it was revealed at the press briefing.
Osman said Namibia can benefit from the relations between the two countries as Singapore is strategically located as a gateway to the markets in Asia and the East. He indicated that he will engage Singapore’s investment centre located in neighbouring South Africa to include Namibia.
Nandi-Ndaitwah also said that Namibia is in the process of establishing a trade centre in Singapore. Namibia can learn immensely from Singapore’s social housing programme that has been described as a huge success, she added.
Following independence from Britain, Singapore faced a huge housing crisis. Its newly elected government then decided to introduce laws that made land available to the state at cheaper rates and they constructed affordable flats on the land. Public housing is managed by the Housing and Development Board under temporary leaseholds and the majority of the residential housing developments in Singapore is publicly governed and developed. The flats are located in housing estates which are self-contained satellite towns with schools, supermarkets, clinics, hawker centres and sports and recreational facilities.