Nam should reflect development agenda in foreign negotiations

28 Jul 2016 16:30pm
WINDHOEK, 28 JUL (NAMPA) – Namibia should reflect on its development agendas and clearly spell out strategic priorities when engaging with international development partners.
Special Advisor to the Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, Advocate Bience Gawanas said a foreign policy should be a 'developmental' foreign policy, as it must speak to internal issues such as closing inequality gaps and poverty eradication.
Gawanas was presenting Namibia’s position in the African Union (AU) during the Foreign Policy Review Conference on Tuesday.
According to Gawanas, reflecting on the country’s development agenda means ensuring that Africa’s developmental aims, including Namibia’s, are put on its national agenda.
Namibia should also support a common voice and common approaches for broader developmental goals; close the gaps between foreign affairs and sectoral ministries and policies; and support the idea of a common African position to strengthen African’s capacity in international negotiations.
Gawanas added that Namibia also needs to review its internal processes that culminate in the signing and ratification of AU instruments.
Out of a total of 42 legal instruments, Namibia has ratified 16 and signed around 21.
“I think it is possible for Namibia to do better, especially on issues where it is a leading country, in terms of democracy, gender equality and children’s rights.”
She however flagged stakeholder engagement in the AU organisation, noting that the AU is people centred.
Gawanas said the question however still remains as to what extent governments attend AU meetings, engage and hold dialogue with civil society or the private sector, and what is the input of the citizen of the continent.
Therefore, Africa cannot expect Western countries to portray a positive image of the continent, she said.
“It is up to us to tell the good stories of our continent, so that the continent does not only become known as the continent of wars, crisis and conflict as there are good stories to be told,” said Gawanas