30 Sep 2005
By Surihe Gaomas
DIPLOMATIC ties and bilateral relations with foreign countries play a vital role in addressing the numerous socio-economic challenges facing Namibia today.
This was the theme of Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Lempy Lucas's address at a ceremony to mark the 60th anniversary of Indonesia's independence this week.
At the occasion, Lucas said Indonesia's technical assistance to Namibia goes a long way in addressing issues of poverty and disease, especially the HIV/Aids pandemic.
Such assistance also provides a solid foundation on which Namibia could achieve its developmental goals as stated in the National Development Plans of Vision 2030 and the United Nations Millennium Declaration Goals.
Besides playing an active role in the country's independence struggle, Indonesia's made a meaningful contribution in sustaining the country's social and economic growth.
This has become even more evident in the active participation of Indonesia in the Windhoek Agricultural and Industrial Show, the Ongwediva Trade Fair as well as the Namibia Holiday and Travel Expo.
The spirit of cultural exchange has also become ever so prominent as more ordinary Namibians as well as senior government officials travel to Indonesia and vice-versa. The Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister called for the private sector to join in the development of the two countries.
"Both our governments place great emphasis on the need for cooperation between the private sector and government in addressing the challenges of sustainable social and economic development," said Lucas.
Strengthening the two countries' commitment to these goals in April this year, Indonesia co-hosted the 2005 Africa-Asia Summit and the commemoration of the Golden Jubilee of the Asian-African Bandung Conference of 1955.
It was at this historic summit that both continents agreed to adopt the Declaration of the new Asian-African Strategic Partnership aimed at advancing political stability, socio-economic development and cultural interaction.
"Through the new Asian-African Strategic Partnership, we must encourage increased trade among and within our countries and sharing of best practices and experiences towards achieving economic growth and sustainable development in our respective regions," said Lucas.
Indonesian Ambassador to Namibia Gede Putu Artisme commended both countries for maintaining positive diplomatic relations and cooperation over the past 15 years. Through the programme of Technical Cooperation Among Developing Countries (TCDC), about 29 Namibians have received training in various technical fields in that country. Artisme described the relations between Namibia and Indonesia over the years as "resilient."
Over 100 high-ranking Government officials, business personalities and members of the diplomatic mission attended the 60th occasion on Tuesday this week.