Ghana – Namibia co-operation elevated

Ghana and Namibia will establish a Bi-National Commission (BNC) to be co-chaired by Heads of State, elevating the status of their 30-year-old Permanent Joint-Commission for Co-operation (PJCC), according to a communique signed by their foreign ministers in Swakopmund, a port city 360 km. west of the capital,Windhoek.

“With the elevation of our PJCC to a BNC, our instrument for co-operation will now be formally led by our Heads of State; they will give us, the foreign ministers, our marching orders,” Ms. Shirley A. Botchwey, Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, said.  “It’s a demonstration of the importance we’re attaching to our relationship.”

Ms. Botchwey co-signed the communique with Dr. Peya Mushelenga, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Co-operation of Namibia, at a joint meeting and ceremony on Friday, preceded by three days of technical work by Ghanaian and Namibian senior officials and technocrats.

The mineral-rich southern African country of 2.6 million people, has recently made off-shore oil discoveries estimated to be in excess of 20 billion barrels, making it, potentially, the third largest oil-rich country in Africa after Libya and Nigeria, and the 15th in the world.

The two countries expressed interest in co-operating in over a dozen and half fields, including energy, mining, agriculture, health, trade, transport, education, peace-keeping, foreign service training, local government administration, sports and the arts.

Memorandums of Understanding  (MoUs) were also signed between the Kofi Annan International Peae-keeping training centre, and the Namibian Internatioal Women’s Peace Centre to co-operate towards improving their technical capacity and for peace support operations and policy research.

An air service agreement between the two is also under consideration. Such an agreement would enable airlines from either country to fly to the other.

The two countries expressed concerns over the wars and conflicts in Sudan, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, northern Mozambique, Gaza (Palestine-Israel), and between Ukraine and Russia, and called for them to be resolved peacefully.

They also called on the international community to “speed up efforts geared towards the attainment of the inalienable rights to self-determination for the people of Palestine and the attainment of the Two-State Solution,” according to the joint communique.

Ghana and Nambia have had an active decades-long relationship dating back to the latter’s pre-independence years. Its South-West African People’s Organization (SWAPO) fought a 22-year guerrila war to dislodge apartheid South African occupiers from the vast former German colony, and gain its independence in 1988.

Ghana became home for scores of Namibians, alongside other southern African citizens, who studied under Ghanaian government scholarship programmes in a wide array of fields, including journalism, engineering and medicine.  Sam Nujoma, Namibia’s first post-independence leader, was a regular visitor to the Ghanaian capital, Accra.

Ms. Botchwey was also a guest speaker at the opening of the Swakopmund International Trade Expo (SWAITEX), organized by the Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI), and attended by Presidents Nasngolo Mbumba of Namibia and Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana.

The next meeting of the PJCC is due to be held in two years.