UN SG praises Namibia

WINDHOEK: United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon applauded Namibia for its tremendous progress on national reconciliation, press freedom, the adoption of human rights’ treaties and substantial economic growth.

“Namibia’s sound economic policies have enabled it to transition to upper-middle-income status in a very short period. This makes Namibia an economic frontrunner in Africa,” Ban said during the commissioning of UN House in Windhoek on Tuesday.

He said this donation of the UN House is a stellar example of Namibia’s role in supporting the United Nations.

“We can all take pride in the accomplishments you have achieved in only 24 short years since independence in 1990. I thank all of you – government, development partners and UN staff – for such excellent collaboration, and I look forward to our even stronger partnership in the future.

I sincerely hope that under the leadership of President Hifikepunye Pohamba, the people of Namibia will enjoy prosperity with the support of the United Nations, leaving no one behind,” he stated.

Ban also commended Namibia for its invaluable support for United Nations’ peacekeeping operations.

“I welcome Namibia’s leadership as a member of the Human Rights’ Council. I thank Namibia for presiding over the UN General Assembly during its 54th session for the negotiations which resulted in the establishment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG),” he added.

National Assembly Speaker Theo-Ben Gurirab was the president of the UN General Assembly at the time.

“As we prepare for the post-MDG period, I am pleased that Namibia is playing a leadership role in developing Africa’s common position on the post-2015 development agenda. I count on President Hifikepunye Pohamba’s vision in that field,” he noted.

Ban furthermore indicated that Namibia has also demonstrated its leadership in addressing HIV/AIDS, reducing poverty, protecting the environment and promoting gender equality.

“With your assistance, the refugee population here dropped from 20 000 persons in the early 1990s to fewer than 3 000 now,” he said, adding that Namibia is also advancing a regional approach to migration issues in southern Africa, and mainstreaming migration in its development agenda.

Ban, however, said important challenges remain – most notably income inequality and unemployment, especially among the youth, but took cognisance of the fact that the current Fourth National Development Plan (NDP IV) aims to address these issues head-on.