Pohamba open Heads of Mission conference at Swakop

07 Jul 2014 16:50pm
SWAKOPMUND, 07 JUL (NAMPA) - President Hifikepunye Pohamba on Monday officially opened the Heads of Mission conference at Swakopmund.
The four-day event is expected to review the implementation of Namibia’s Foreign Policy, and adopt other policy documents which will further enhance the efficiency of Namibia’s foreign service.
Pohamba thanked the Ambassadors and High Commissioners attending the conference, formerly known as the Namibian Heads of Diplomatic Missions’ conference, for marketing the country abroad and enhancing economic diplomacy.
“Let us start buying our own offices in the foreign countries we operate from. This will be cheaper for the country, as we will be operating from our own buildings.
If the Ministry of Foreign Affairs starts a programme to buy such offices, in 30 years we will have our own offices,” he advised.
The president further stated that the conference should not only reflect on the past in order to understand and contextualise the present, but must also serve as a platform to learn from lessons of the past and chart a future course, informed by reality and possible future scenarios.
Positive developments have been recorded in the country’s foreign arena over the past nine years, and this should continue.
“Although more is still to be done, I have been informed that the implementation of the recommendations from previous Heads of Mission conferences in 2005 and 2011 have made an impact on the conduct of our diplomacy and the management of our missions abroad,” said the president.
On her part, Minister of Foreign Affairs Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah emphasised that the conference is a necessary undertaking so that diplomats can regularly come together to share information, and map the way forward in carrying out their tasks.
“In the next few days, we will be looking at different policy documents, which are necessary for the future operations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We will also look at the National Development Plan (NDP) documents such as NDP4 to see how we can best integrate them in our diplomatic work,” she added.
The conference, which is taking place under the theme ‘Enhancing economic diplomacy in pursuance of Namibia’s foreign policy’, is also being attended by former Ambassadors and High Commissioners as well as Honorary Consuls.
The main responsibilities of the Heads of Mission are to represent Namibia abroad, and protect the interests of the country and that of its nationals.
They also negotiate various agreements with governments or organisations to which they are accredited, promote friendly relations between Namibia and their host countries, as well as market Namibian products and promote trade and investment.