MAUREN HINDA, DEPUTY MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION, PAYS OFFICIAL VISIT TO VENEZUELA, EL SALVADOR, BAHAMAS AND JAMAICA ON 16-31 JULY 2015
Hon. Maureen Magreth Hinda, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, paid official visits to Venezuela, El Salvador, Bahamas and Jamaica during the period 16-31 July 2015 to strengthen bilateral relations.
The main objective of the four nation mission was to represent Namibia at the 8th International Conference of the Community of Democracies in San Salvador, El Salvador. As a panelist she highlighted Namibia as a functioning democratic country that has instruments in place to curb corruption and to guarantee transparency. Taking advantage of the 8th International Conference in that region, Deputy Minister Hinda made stopover visits in Caracas, San Salvador, Nassau and Kingston. Her timely visit underscored the friendly bilateral relations Namibia enjoys with the Governments and people of the four countries visited.
These countries are important bilateral partners to Namibia’s ongoing efforts to foster and promote mutually beneficial South-South Cooperation with a region that is closely link to Africa. Africa and South, Central America and the Caribbean Islands share a common history of colonial occupation. Brazil is in fact a host to the second highest number of African populations in the world and all these countries have people of African descent in their populations. The shared legacy of slavery and anti-colonialist struggles cements the permanent linkage between Namibia and the friendly countries of Venezuela, El Salvador, Bahamas and Jamaica.
The official visit by Deputy Minister Hinda was aimed at promoting and sustaining cooperation between Namibia and these countries in the important areas of poverty eradication, trade and investment, tourism, education, arts and culture, health, transportation infrastructure, and energy.
Furthermore, as H.E. President Hage Geingob declared war on poverty, the visits also served to find out what inspiration Namibia can draw from the achievements of these countries in the area of poverty eradication. At the same time, Hon. Hinda also wanted to know from her interlocutors what achievements were made in the area of social housing, particularly at inclusive processes that seek to involve the poorest of the poor in matters of basic housing and social housing.
During the visit to Venezuela on 17-21 July 2015, Deputy Minister Hinda conducted political consultations with Prof. Reinaldo Bolivar, Vice Minister for Africa in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. During these consultations, the two sides discussed wide ranging issues of mutual interest at various levels.
Hon. Hinda was also briefed extensively on the Deputy Ministry of Supreme Happiness, which is an institution influence by the doctrines of the Founding Father of Venezuela, Simon Bolivar and Hugo Chavez, who advocated measures to address the total happiness of the individual through poverty eradication among others. Synergy can be found and many lessons to be learned from their experience for our strategies and policies in addressing the same.
Hon. Hinda expressed appreciation for the Namibian students in Venezuela who are to graduate soon with degrees in Agriculture and Engineering not only for the opportunity to study but the immeasurable experience they gained from the people centered governance and culture. Despite its challenges Venezuela pledged to continue the scholarship support program. This is an opportunity Namibia is ready to maximize on and also work on other mutually beneficial projects and relations.
From 21-25 July 2015, Hon. Hinda attended the main business of the official mission related to the 8th Conference of the Community of Democracies, during which she made a panel presentation on “Transparency in Public Service”. Hon. Hinda was received by Hon. Hugo Martinez, Minister of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador and indicated Namibia’s interest to promote win-win bilateral relations between Namibia and El Salvador. She pointed out that Namibia will study to understand the El Salvadorian policy on creating what they term “Rural middle-class” as a strategy for rural development to address poverty and to curb urbanization.
On the margins of the Conference, the Deputy Minister met with Mr. Takashi Uto, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan and had an exchange of views on issues of mutual interest. She expressed appreciation for the recently opened Japanese embassy in Namibia and underscored the need for closer cooperation and assistance to the country’s efforts for industrialization and value addition.
Hon. Hinda visited Bahamas on 25-28 July 2015 and held fruitful meeting on promotion of cooperation in the tourism sector with Ms. Sheila Carey, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.
In Jamaica, Hon. Hinda held various fruitful high level meetings during her visit to Kingston on 28-31 July 2015. She also met her counterpart, Hon Alredo Brown, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Hon, Natalie Neita-Headley Minister of Sport in the Office of the Prime Minster, Reverend Ronald Thwaites – Minister of Education and Hon. G. Anthony Hylton, MP, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce. She also held high-level meetings with University of Technology officials and visited several training institutions including GC Foster Physical Education and Sports Training College, Caribbean School of Medical Sciences, and Edna Manley College of Visual Arts and Performing.
It is her impression that the mission was very successful and recommended Study Tours and/or Joined Missions to these countries as Namibia stand to benefit from a more structured marketing and networking in order to strengthen existing relations. She, of course, wished to include Cuba and Brazil in the trip but had limited time to do so, and she gave compliments and recognition to a competent and experience team who accompanied her.
The Deputy Minister presented draft Memoranda of Understanding on Political Consultations to El Salvador, Bahamas and Jamaica. Hon. Hinda was accompanied by Mr. Humphrey Geiseb – Deputy Director, and the delegation was joined in Venezuela by Mr Colin Namalambo, the then Charge D’ Affairs a.i., in El Salvador and Bahamas by H.E. Martin Andjaba, Ambassador of Namibia to USA and Mr Obrien Simasiku and joined in Jamaica by Mr Penda Naanda, Namibia’s Deputy Permanent Representative to United Nations.