Address: Embassy of the Republic of Namibia, 42 Rue Boileau, Paris 75016
Ambassador: H. E. Mr. Albertus Aochamub
1.) Background and History of the Mission, including the number of countries you are covering, and the size of the staff (local and foreign)
The Embassy of Namibia in Paris was established in 1990, and is accredited to France, Italy, Portugal and Spain. Our mandate incorporates both bilateral and multilateral diplomatic relations with accreditations to the United Nations Education Science and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in Paris, France, - the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) in Madrid, Spain, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris, France the International Bureau of Expositions (BIE) in Paris, France the World Organization for Animal Health, and the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) in Lisbon, Portugal. The Embassy has a staff compliment of 16 officials, of which 8 are home-based (diplomats) and 8 are locally recruited staff members.
2.) The objectives of the Mission?
The objectives of the Mission are to: Promote and protect Namibia’s national interest through bilateral and multilateral cooperation, advancement of economic diplomacy, Foreign Direct Investment promotion and facilitation as well as trade and tourism promotion. We continuously strive to forge strategic partnerships through which we promote developmental projects, to achieve the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Developmental Goals of the United Nations. We further aim to deliver quality consular services to Namibian nationals residing or travelling through the countries of our accreditation.
3.) How does your Mission benefit the ordinary Namibians as well as Namibians in the countries you are accredited to (diaspora)?
The Embassy provides conventional consular services to Namibian nationals living in the countries of accreditation. Facilitation of applications for Namibian Passports, birth certificates, registration of births abroad, repatriation of mortal remains are amongst the most noticeable citizen-centric services rendered to Namibian nationals. Further to that, the Embassy issues emergency travel documents to Namibian nationals whose passports have been lost, stolen, damaged or expired and they can’t get a new or replacement passport in time to travel.
4.) How is the Mission promoting trade and investment opportunities to the countries you are accredited to?
The Embassy primarily promotes trade and investment opportunities in Namibia through direct value proposition marketing based on bankable projects, the hosting of Investment Seminars, participation in trade exhibitions, business forums and conferences relevant to the target sectors as per the development plans of Namibia. We also facilitate inbound and outbound business missions to and from Namibia and assist both Namibian and host country business persons with trade and investment enquiries, establishment of new investments as well as potential joint-venture partnership facilitation. To “do more with less”, we have forged strategic partnerships with Chambers of Commerce, Industry Associations and diplomatic missions for promotional activities in the respective countries. Successful trade and investment facilitation require smooth coordination and support among all relevant stakeholders.
Apart from promoting trade and investment, the Embassy continues to promote Namibia as the premier tourism destination, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and the Namibia Tourism Board. Tourism Fairs earmarked for participation in the current financial year ending March 2020 include The SITV Travel and Tourism Fair in Colmar, France from 09-11 November 2019, Fitur Tourism Fair in Madrid, Spain from 22-26 January 2019 and the BTL Tourism Fair in Lisbon from 11-15 March 2020. The Mission works closely with the Namibian Honorary Consulates in Lisbon, Porto, and Milan to promote investment, trade and tourism opportunities. This strategy has proven to be very useful as it expands the Embassy’s promotion activities with minimal resources. Work is afoot to further expand the Honorary Consul network with the latest one slated for launch in Colmar in the Alsace region of France on the 7th of November 2019.
5.) What are the comparative advantages in the countries to which you are accredited?
The comparative advantages offered by France, Spain, Italy and Portugal are vast.
France, is a permanent member of the UN Security Council and one of the major players in the global economy as the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal figures and the ninth largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has the second largest economy in the Eurozone after Germany. With 31 of the 500 biggest companies of the world, France ranks 4th in the Fortune Global 500, behind the USA, China and Japan. Several French corporations rank amongst the largest in their industries such as the energy utility EDF; the nuclear-energy giant AREVA; environmental services and water management company Veolia; construction companies Vinci SA, Bouygues and Eiffage; and tire manufacturer Michelin which ranks in the top 3 global tire manufacturers; French oil company Total is the world's fourth largest oil company; while PSA Peugeot Citroen (with a plant in Walvisbay) is the world's 6th and Europe's 2nd largest automaker, and Alstom is one of the world's leading conglomerates in rail transport.
As for Spain, it has the fourteenth-largest economy in the world by nominal GDP and is the fifth largest economy in the EU. Spanish companies are among the world’s leaders in sectors of value addition and major growth potential such as construction, transport infrastructure management, electricity, renewable energy, biotechnology, water treatment, environmental technology, as well as naval technology. These firms are increasingly on the lookout for markets abroad, particularly in Africa with potential for collaboration and investments in Namibia.
The same can be said of Italy, which is the 4th largest economy in Europe and the 8th largest by nominal GDP in the world. Italy is also well known for its influential and innovative business economic sector, manufacturing and competitive agriculture, high-quality automobiles, naval and industrial technologies, appliance and fashion design. It is also home to Pirelli, one of the biggest producers of tyres in the world.
Similarly, Portugal ranked 42nd in the WEF's Global Competitiveness Report for 2018 and is home to the European Regional headquarters of Google, Amazon and Uber. Leading companies with worldwide reputations such as Sonae, the largest producer of wood-based panels; Amorim, the world leader in cork production, Conservas, the oldest canned food producer, Cimpor, one of the world's 10th largest producers of cement, EDP, the 3rd largest producer of wind energy in the world. Portugal is also home to several world class universities and business schools contributing to knowledge creation attracting an increase number of foreign students.
Namibia can establish synergies and partnerships that capitalize on the comparative advantages offered by each of these countries.
6.) What assistance does the Mission render to visiting delegations such as government, business, and culture and youth, that would like to establish links of cooperation? (Joint commissions and mixed delegations)
An important part of the work of the Embassy is to assist official delegations visiting our counties of accreditation. The Embassy is involved in planning the programmes and practical arrangements according to the objectives of the visiting delegations or officials. We also prepare briefs and drafts statements for official delegations when necessary. Furthermore, if there is any multilateral event where Namibia participates such as at UNESCO in Paris, UNWTO in Milan, or the CPLP in Lisbon, we ensure that Namibia is well-represented.
7.) What advice would you give visiting delegations?
Three pieces of advice: 1. Plan ahead of time, 2. Study destination culture/etiquette/tips. 3. Remember to always inform the Mission in good time about your private and official trips. Failure to do so always results in the individuals being at a disadvantage when help might be needed.
8.) What are your overall achievements?
Education, skills development and training is a critical part of sustainable economic growth and development. To that end, the Embassy initiated a Technical Cooperation Agreement between the University of Namibia and the ISA Lille Yncrea Graduate School, signed on 01 October 2019. This Memorandum of Understanding will enable cooperation in curriculum development, human resources exchange programmes, student exchange programmes among other benefits. The Embassy played a significant role in the establishment of the Asparagus investment by a Spanish company in the Green Scheme. This is now successful venture that, after an initial pilot project of 60 hectares, is now expanding on an additional 300 hectares. Recently we secured a 40 000 Euro drought relief donation from UNESCO at the discretion of the DG. Through the Mission’s participation in the Macfrut Fruit & Veg Professional Show from 08-10 May 2019, the Namibia Industrial Development Agency has secured table grape orders from Italian companies for the next harvest and are in talks with other parties engaged at this exhibition.
Going forward we will be announcing projects in Tourism, Aquaponics, new Grants from multilateral organisations and a range of diplomatic initiatives to further cement relations with the countries of accreditation.
9.) Highlight MOU’s signed and Agreements entered into with the countries to which you are accredited to and how they have benefitted Namibia?
We may want to cite the following agreements and memoranda of understanding concluded with the host countries. Although most have lapsed and are being renegotiated at present.
10.) What are the current issues at your regional or international organisations?
At UNESCO, there is a renewed emphasis and debate on UNESCO governance and reform. There are 3 main issues at this time that will have a major impact on the future of UNESCO as captured in highly contested resolutions for consideration during the November 2019 General Conference. Firstly, the Philippines has submitted a resolution on term limits and rotation for members of the Executive Board with Namibia’s co-sponsorship. The objective here is to allow smaller countries to also participate as equal sovereigns in the governance of UNESCO. Secondly, Qatar has submitted a resolution that deals with how the Director General is selected and appointed. At present the Executive Board makes that decision but the proposed direction is for the General Conference as the ultimate decision-making body of the organisation be the one to do so. Again, Namibia co-sponsored that resolution because it gives authority to the correct structure of UNESCO and deepens democracy. A third, equally contentious resolution is proposed by Sweden and recommends, in a nutshell, that members whose dues are not paid in full should have no voting powers in all structures of the organisation. Provision is made in the resolution to accommodate acts of god, civil strife and so forth that might render some countries unable to make their contributions in full or on time. These are timely debates as they resonate with the overall reform agenda of the UN system as a whole.
A final matter in the UNESCO context that is of interest to all Namibians is that we are vying for a seat on the Executive Board of UNESCO during the November 2019 General Conference. We remain hopeful to be elected and to make our contribution to the leadership of this important world body.
At the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Namibia continues to be a member of the Executive Board for another 2 years. The Paris Mission participates actively in all activities and hope that in 2020 Namibia will host the UNWTO Brand Africa Summit once all due processes are completed.
11.) How are you working to assist Namibians to be employed at International and Regional Organizations?
Namibia is one of the countries that regularly pay their assessed contributions to regional and international organizations in full and on time. We are keen to ensure that Namibian nationals with the right skills and experience are aware of the career opportunities international organisations offer, especially UNESCO. The Embassy forwards notifications of vacancies from UNESCO to the National Commission for UNESCO and the Public Service Commission through the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation. However, we should also mention that most appointments are made by application directly to the recruiting organisation. Whilst government cannot guarantee that an application will be successful nor intervene in the recruitment processes, we will do all we can to render the necessary support.
12.) How do you promote the status of Namibia at international and regional fora?
Namibia is an active participant in all the key events of all the organisations to which we are accredited. At UNESCO, we are now vying for a seat on the Executive Board and remain active on the UNWTO Executive Board. The overarching thrust is to safeguard Namibia’s sovereignty and national interests, as well as to contribute meaningfully towards a just and equitable community of nations through diplomacy. In that light, we propose or co-sponsor resolutions aimed at driving our agenda. Those resolutions, at the same time, safeguard the future of a rules-based international order through the multilateral organisations the Mission is assigned to.
The Mission is well placed to facilitate high-level visits and exchanges between public bodies in Namibia and their counterparts in France, Spain, Italy and Portugal, including with the ComSec and the IMO. These visits and exchanges tend to be aimed at gaining practical information and good practice necessary to improve organisational efficiency, service delivery and overall performance.
It is a requirement of the Mission that those delegations who would like to visit France, Spain, Italy and Portugal should inform the Mission in good time to facilitate appointments – leading institutions and businesses in France, Spain, Italy and Portugal tend to plan their calendars several months in advance - and to allow for better planning of logistics, including transportation. Public and private transport systems are well developed and cost-effective, therefore the Mission encourages delegations to make use of them when visiting France, Spain, Italy and Portugal.