ALFREDO TJIURIMO HENGARI, INGE ZAAMWANI-KAMWI and JAMES MNYUPE
THE BASIC ASSUMPTION is that any journalist or analyst, new or seasoned, would understand the basics of foreign policy and the prosperity nations derive from diplomacy.
Unfortunately, some Namibian journalists, and worse, editors, are exceptions to the rule and provide thoughtless, naïve and downright innocuous commentary on the Head of State’s foreign diplomatic missions.
They constructed a problem from the president’s involvement in international affairs. Hopelessly sensational editorials and shoddy articles are devoted to the president’s foreign missions.
Curiously, these journalists and analysts are not surprised that when the President is at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda, or the African Union Summit in Ethiopia, he interacts with no less than 50 Heads of Government .
Similarly, when the President delivers a statement at the September annual meetings of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, he is joined by more than 100 heads of state and government.
Consequently, a need for clarification, if not education, is essential on the diplomatic engagements of the president.
“HIGH” AND “LOW” POLICY
The President undertakes different types of missions. Some deal with the “high politics” of statecraft as security and survival; others relate to the “low politics” of trade, social affairs and commerce.
When the Head of State responds to multilateral or bilateral invitations to participate in State visits or summits, these are first and foremost carefully considered according to the national interest and what Namibians can win.
These missions are undertaken in light of the fact that the president is constitutionally vested with a variety of executive functions and powers, including negotiating treaties with foreign governments to advance the national interest.
Indeed, with the escalation of the stakes on the international scene, President Geingob declined many invitations or delegated them to other senior officials, including the vice-president, prime minister or deputy prime minister.
On some occasions, if possible, the President participates virtually. In some cases Namibia’s participation may not be deemed necessary.
However, for the sake of the curious journalist and analyst, it is necessary to note that there are key multilateral or bilateral platforms where Namibia’s voice at the highest level is crucial to advancing the national prosperity and development agenda. eradication of poverty.
Namibia is a lead country in the African Union Peace and Security Council, AU committees on UN Security Council reform, including education, and the initiative Africa on renewable energies.
As a member of the UN, drawing clear benefits from the UN system, Namibia is expected to participate in key summits that affect our interests and make decisions on the future of humanity.
In addition, Namibia is a founding member of the Oceans Panel, whose work focuses on ocean sustainability.
President Geingob is currently Deputy Chairman of the SADC Organ on Peace, Defense and Security Co-operation and will assume the role of Chairman next month.
In accordance with the Constitution, the President interacts and negotiates agreements with foreign governments.
Namibia is not an island. Our socio-economic development and prosperity depend on the strength of our global presence and our economic partnerships.
The resulting development benefits all Namibians, including journalists.
Since taking office, President Geingob has opened up what has largely been the dark world of diplomacy to ensure that Namibians and journalists understand the president’s foreign policy activities.
In line with transparency and accountability, regular press releases and updates are provided during these missions.
Over the past two decades, economic diplomacy has assumed an increasing role in Namibia’s foreign policy.
Above all, with the raw materials crisis, recurrent droughts and Covid-19, the Geingob presidency has, since 2015, prioritized economic diplomacy as a crucial axis in Namibia’s interactions with the outside world.
Some missions focus on furthering business interests, promoting investment and opening doors to Namibian products and services.
This is particularly important for our small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which need bilateral agreements to penetrate certain markets.
Through the President’s economic diplomacy, Namibia has unlocked benefits that will contribute to Namibia’s prosperity. In the past 16 months alone, Namibia has attracted tangible investment in energy, tourism and logistics.
Namibia is now recognized as one of the clean energy superpowers with planned investments of around US$10 billion for a green hydrogen and ammonia facility in the //Kharas region.
Once concluded, it will be the largest IED in Namibia’s history.
After the World Economic Forum, the government received an unsolicited bid for a joint venture to create a continental manufacturing hub for green industries.
Following numerous interactions between President Geingob and the Emir of Qatar in February 2022, the Qatar Investment Authority, with assets under management of over $300 billion, visited Namibia in May 2022 and expressed its interest in investing in infrastructure related to transport and logistics, tourism and agriculture.
WHAT IT MATTERS
Through Kasada Capital Management, backed by the Qatar Investment Authority, Qatar recently acquired the Safari Hotel through a $2.6 billion facility granted by the IFC.
On the sidelines of the June 2022 Commonwealth Summit, President Mokgweetsi Masisi pledged to President Geingob to increase freight volumes through Walvis Bay. Jobs will be created in the process.
The Presidency encourages journalists and analysts to familiarize themselves with diplomacy and foreign policy in order to better inform the public of the clear benefits accruing to citizens as a result of the President’s commitments.
Namibia is committed to doing more with less and optimizing its diplomatic footprint on five continents with greater emphasis on peace, security and economic interests, as reflected in the Policy on International Relations and Cooperation .
In line with the national interest, President Geingob will continue to lead the pace at which Namibia engages with other nations and institutions.
* Alfredo Tjiurimo Hengari, Inge Zaamwani-Kamwi and James Mnyupe are advisers to President Hage Geingob