By Eliaser Ndeyanale
PRESIDENT Hage Geingob on Monday called for the international community to support Namibia to put boots on the ground in the war against the killing of protected species.
The call comes at a time when the country is losing the battle to save its wildlife. Iconic animals like elephants and rhinos are under attack from highly organised criminal networks that are feeding an insatiable demand for ivory and rhino horns in the country and across borders.
In March Nampol’s deputy inspector-general Major General James Tjivikua said that 34 rhinos were poached this year alone of which 29 were found in Etosha. Last year, Namibia lost 83 rhinos and more than 50 elephants were killed by poachers who have become to be known as ‘rhinoprenuers’.
In his speech at the official opening of heads of mission conference in Windhoek read on his behalf by Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, the President said Namibia had been experiencing increased poaching of endangered species like the rhinoceros, which he condemned.
“We invite the support of friendly nations to bring to a halt the killing of our protected species,” he said, adding that Namibian diplomats have a role to play in telling local success stories in conservation.
He further stated that the country’s focus is on the eradication of poverty.
“In order for us to make an impact on the ground, I am requesting the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, in consultation with or through the Government, to see to it that all our diplomatic missions and General consulates are allocated specific regions in Namibia to which they should attract social and economic projects. This will be in addition to your tasks to promote trade and investment in general.”
With regard to the implementation of the Harambee Prosperity Plan, Geingob said he has requested the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development to “attract at least 10 new investment projects through investment promotion creating a minimum of 1 000 jobs by 31 December 2016”.
“I am therefore inviting our missions to actively cooperate with the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development to ensure that this target is met.
“I would also like you to identify private people in your countries of accreditation who have on their own initiative, taken the responsibility of supporting our communities with social and economic projects, for recognition by our Government,” he noted.
The President further emphasised that organisations such as SADC, the African Union and the United Nations had changed in many ways over the past decades.
“It is, therefore, imperative that our Ambassadors and High Commissioners recognise these realities and continue to plan our engagement with these organisations accordingly.
“At the regional level, we are happy that SADC generally continues to enjoy peace and tranquillity. This is testimony to the strong cooperation and established institutions that exist within our regional organisation. In addition, Namibia must continue to promote regional integration through the implementation of the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan and the Industrialisation Strategy, which, I believe, will strengthen our economies.”
He said that the region has been negatively affected by the current drought, but SADC has put in place early warning systems and mitigation mechanisms to address the situation.
He added that at continental level, Africa is in the process of implementing Agenda 2063, which is a collective vision to lift the continent out of poverty and underdevelopment to higher levels of good governance, peace and stability and prosperity.
“I urge our Heads of Mission in Africa to effectively interact with regional economic communities and the countries of their accreditation in order to implement the flagship projects of Agenda 2063 related to regional economic integration, free movement of people, and the expansion and strengthening of intra-Africa trade to mention but a few.”
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015