07 Jun 2014 12:00pm
By Maggy Thomas
ROVANIEMI, 07 JUN (NAMPA) - The Embassy of Namibia to the Nordic and Baltic States has put an investment and trade-centred focus on its quest to attract investment to Namibia and promote mutual beneficial trade.
Namibias Ambassador to the Nordic and Baltic countries, Moureen Muuondja has described the relationship between Namibia and those countries as excellent, but said a lot has to be done for economic relationships to be forged.
In an interview with Nampa on Thursday, she said the political relationships between Namibia and the Nordic and Baltic countries are very good, but work is needed to translate the political relations into economic and trade relations.
Muuondja, who was appointed as ambassador to these countries in November last year, formed part of the Namibian business delegation led by Minister of Trade and Industry Calle Schlettwein which undertook a trade and investment mission to Finland and Sweden since last week.
Our aim is not only to strengthen our bilateral relations between Namibia and those countries, but also to find partnerships that are viable and will yield mutual beneficial results for Namibia, she said.
Muuondja noted that in light of the fact that development aid from donor countries has been cut because of Namibias middle income status, the embassy has a responsibility to be innovative in finding ways in which it can ensure that investment reaches Namibia.
We have put investment and trade-centred focus on trying to achieve Vision 2030 in line with our foreign policy, which puts economic diplomacy at the centre of its activities, she said.
She went on to say it is the embassy's quest to engage all the Nordic and Baltic countries, especially where Namibia is not a resident country, to see how they can partner in areas where Namibia has challenges, such as skills transfer, technology, manufacturing among others.
With these countries, we still have to explore if we can have potential beneficial partnerships. This is my focus, she said.
Muuondja indicated that with countries such as Finland, trade relations are going on well although it is relatively small. There has however been rapid growth has in the past few years.
Namibias exports to Finland include beef, raw materials, and fish products, among others, while Finnish exports to Namibia comprise mostly machinery and equipment.
Major trade deals between Finland and Namibia in recent years are in the areas of medical equipment and a marine exploration vessel built in Finland.
The two countries signed an agreement for promotion and protection of investments in 2005.
In 2013, Namibia exported goods to Finland to the value of N.dollars 1.5 million, while imports from Finland value N.dollars 190 million.
The Namibian Embassy is located in Stockholm, Sweden, and caters for countries such as Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and the Baltic countries, including Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Muuondja has so far only been accredited to Sweden and Finland, and is in the process of being accredited to the remaining countries.
The business delegation is expected to return to Namibia next week.