12 Jul 2014 10:30am
SWAKOPMUND, 12 JUL (NAMPA) The four-day Heads of Mission Conference held in Swakopmund ended with the launch of the Namibian Association of Former Ambassadors (NAFA) on Friday.
Prime Minister Hage Geingob officially launched the association before he closed the conference.
This association, we believe, will become the think tank for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in general. It is a body on which the ministry can call upon at any time to respond immediately to analyse issues of foreign affairs as they arise, Minister of Foreign Affairs Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said during the launch.
Nandi-Ndaitwah said the association was formed in order to assist the minister and foreign ministry to provide proper policy guidelines to the Government of Namibia.
She said the body could also play a role in linking Namibian businesses with businesses in other countries.
The association has 13 founding members and more former ambassadors are expected to join.
Serving ambassadors are also welcome to join the association as soon as they retire.
The minister said membership is voluntary, therefore those who wish not to participate are free to do so.
Now we have people who we can bring together any time to do a quick analysis based on their skills as we know issues of foreign affairs and international relations move very fast and need quick responses, said the Foreign Affairs Minister.
The conference discussed the implementation of recommendations from previous Heads of Mission conferences, global political trends and challenges the ministry faces.
Nandi-Ndaitwah noted that the conference also deliberated on strategic and management plans for the ministry, guidelines for appointments and functions of Honorary Consuls, and proposed amendment structures to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
All this was aimed at enhancing the work of the ministry in order to professionally and effectively carry out its tasks, and also ensure that it has contributed to the fourth National Development Plan (NDP4).
The conference was interactive. Clear policy statements were made and recommendations were agreed upon, the minister remarked.
In addition to staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the conference was attended by 26 current Heads of Mission, 25 Honorary Consuls, two Consuls-General, and 23 former Heads of Mission.
In his speech, Geingob urged ambassadors and consuls to put special focus on using their extensive networks to complement Government efforts towards addressing challenges such as youth unemployment.
We must not forget the pressures of unemployment, particularly among the youth. Only when we succeed in bringing industries to our country will we be able to realise the objectives of Vision 2030, he said.