President Hage Geingob’s recent trip to France and the United Kingdom (UK) has reignited investor interest in Namibia in the areas of tourism, renewable energy, water, agriculture, fisheries and transport.
Deputy Prime Minister and international relations minister, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, and Cabinet ministers Obeth Kandjoze, Calle Schlettwein and John Mutorwa accompanied Geingob, while Pohamba Shifeta joined him later in France.
A business delegation also accompanied him to both countries.
Explaining the importance of the trip, Presidential press secretary, Albertus Aochamub indicated that in the era of economic diplomacy that is being spearheaded by Geingob, face-to-face engagements are critical.
This, according to him, will allow would-be investors, tourists and current investors an opportunity to interact with key decision-makers at the highest level of government.
“Those interactions improve confidence in the country, showcase the investment climate, and make a case for a country where the governance infrastructure and the institutions are sound,” Aochamub noted.
He added that: “A case of that nature can never be made on Skype, Twitter or any such modern means of communication except through people-to-people contact.”
Furthermore, Aochamub said the Namibian business delegation used the platform to negotiate and close own sector-specific transactions and paid for their own travelling expenses.
“To that end, we want it on record that the Namibian government did not bear any financial responsibility for them, as they carried all their own expenses contrary to what some media insinuated,” he stated.
In France, Geingob met his French counterpart, Francois Hollandé, to discuss a wide range of bilateral issues.
It was at this meeting that Hollandé congratulated Geingob for his involvement in international negotiations on climate change, the early ratification of the Paris Accord by Namibia and its commitment to alternative energy transition.
“In the field of tourism, the two states have expressed their ambition to develop their institutional exchanges and vocational training.
“The Environment Investment Fund of Namibia signed a letter of intent with the French Agency for Development worth N$675 million over a 3-year period,” said the presidential press secretary.
In the UK, Geingob met Tobias Ellwood, who is the British minister for the Middle East and Africa. The two exchanged bilateral views on relations between Namibia and the UK, including the investment opportunities that exist in Namibia.
“In addition, Geingob also met Baroness Patricia Scotland, Secretary General of the Commonwealth.”
Geingob and Scotland exchanged ideas on trade and investment promotion opportunities as well as implementation of projects on environmental matters, the blue economy and harmonisation of legal instruments.
Further, the Head of State also addressed a networking dinner with 30 of Europe’s leading businesspersons focusing on investment opportunities, and government’s economic diversification drive, as encapsulated in the Harambee Prosperity Plan.
“Geingob delivered an address at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House (Berkeley Square), attended by students, leading academics, policy makers, media practitioners and the general public.”