24 Jul 2013 10:10
WINDHOEK, 24 JUL (NAMPA) Namibia has benefited immensely from the Commonwealth, although it only joined it as a sovereign nation in 1990, President Hifikepunye Pohamba said on Wednesday.
Namibia became the 50th member of the Commonwealth of Nations in 1990.
The Commonwealth of Nations is an association primarily of former members of the British Empire, and is often referred to as simply 'the Commonwealth'.
Namibia will forever be grateful for the moral, material, political and diplomatic support rendered to our people during our national liberation struggle, the president said during the official opening of the 44th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA)s Africa Region Conference here.
The CPA Africa Region conference started in the capital on Monday, and ends on Friday.
The Head of State said the country´s interactions with the Commonwealth can be traced back to the period of the national liberation struggle, when African sister countries would use platforms such as the CPA to rally support for the struggle against apartheid colonialism.
Since then, Namibia has worked closely with other Commonwealth Member States to promote the values and principles that it stands for.
Amongst them are the promotion of international peace and security, adherence to good governance, respect for human rights and the rule of law, Pohamba noted.
Over the years, the organisation has also been assisting the country to meet its national development objectives in areas such as providing Namibian students with scholarships to pursue tertiary education.
Government Ministries, Offices and Agencies also received assistance from the Commonwealth in the areas of policy formulation and reforms, as well as public debt management.
I believe that as Member States of the CPA Africa Region, we should continue to work together in order to consolidate and enhance co-operation aimed at achieving accelerated socio-economic development, the Head of State said.
Pohamba said recent reports released by international institutions such as the World Bank and the African Development Bank are encouraging, as it revealed that economic development in Africa is on the upward trend.
The reports also indicated that six out of 10 top-performing economies in the world are in Africa.
Other notable achievements were also attained in the area of education and health, where Africa has experienced an increase in secondary school enrolment of 50 per cent between 2000 and 2008.
It is important for Africa to maintain and sustain this momentum in our collective quest to promote economic development, he added.
However, Pohamba raised the concern that the maintenance of peace and the resolution of conflicts remain some of the main challenges facing Africa.
He thus called on delegates to work harder to address the root causes of conflicts in the region.
Without peace and stability, our continent will not achieve the developmental goals that we have set for ourselves, he continued.
Topics under discussion during the conference include the elimination and prevention of all forms of gender-based violence, the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as well as youth empowerment in Africa.
Close to 500 Members of Parliament (MPs) from 19 countries are attending the event.