It is exactly five years since Namibia recognized the self-determination of the Republic of South Sudan, a decision that has now opened doors in areas of livestock, tourism, drought, education, oil and infrastructural development.
These good tidings were highlighted by that country’s non-resident ambassador to Namibia, Philip Jada Natana, who met with New Era before he departed for South Africa.
The diplomat stressed the relationship between the two countries predates the current administrations and was forged during the time of the liberation struggle.
“Namibia on the date of declaration of our independence actually recognized South Sudan and this marked the start of our formal diplomatic relationship,” Natana explained.
“We only got our ambassadors appointed in 2012 and our first non-resident head of mission to Namibia did not have the chance to present his credentials as he was reassigned.”
He continued: “I think we have some similarities with Namibia – one of them is that both our countries actually possess huge amounts of livestock.”
Natana believes that there is potential in South Sudan for tourism as the country boasts having four national parks, which unfortunately have been disrupted by the long-standing conflict.
“In terms of developing capacity in these two sectors, South Sudan can gain a lot of experience from Namibia.”
According to the diplomat, South Sudan can assist in the water crisis and arid lands by growing animal feed in that country and supplying it to Namibia.
“We started that discussion with Botswana but have not reached that stage yet with Namibia. But we think this can be an area of cooperation.”
He indicated that South Sudanese students were trained at the University of Namibia in the past while professors from that country also taught at the same institution.
“This is one of the things I will be exploring during my tenure to see whether we can re-stablish some of these programmes for the benefit of the two nations.”
On the youth agenda, Natana said most of the youth population in his country know only the armed struggle and lack knowledge about trades. To this end, he believes the two countries can cooperate on youth programmes.
“The issue is that we want to learn how Namibia handles the relationship between farmers without there being cattle. We want to learn how they manage this huge livestock population with ease.”