The Bahamas received its first diplomatic representative of the Republic of Namibia on Thursday (May 15, 2008) during a ceremony at Government House.

Deputy to the Governor-General Sir Arthur Foulkes accepted Letters of Commission from His Excellency Patrick Nandago, 49, accrediting him as Non-Resident High Commissioner to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

“The Bahamas commends Namibia’s vision and focus through concrete steps towards becoming an industrialised state by 2030 by way of consecutive national development plans,” Sir Arthur said.

“Your country’s vision is all the more commendable given its social challenges such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, unemployment, land reform and inequitable income distribution,” added Sir Arthur.

The World Bank has hailed Namibia’s stability since independence in 1990, accompanied by steady economic growth, as well as its extensive social safety network and poverty reduction strategy.

Namibia is also noted for being among the top 10 countries worldwide in the amount of Gross Domestic Product spent on education, and second only to South Africa in per capita expenditure on health.

In the area of tourism, Sir Arthur said that The Bahamas’ Minister of Tourism would be “pleased” to share insights and experience gained by The Bahamas in this “vital” sector.

“We are also of the view that it would be mutually enriching for both our peoples to exchange cultural heritage and economic aspirations,” said Sir Arthur, adding that The Bahamas looks forward to consolidating warm relations between both countries.

High Commissioner Nandago said that his government is committed to fortifying political, economic, social and cultural relations with The Bahamas.

Namibia has recorded significant progress since independence in 1990 from South Africa, in the areas of health, education, housing, creation of jobs, land reform, infrastructure and communication for the betterment of all, he said.

“However, Namibia still faces formidable challenges such as poverty, unemployment especially among the youth, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, lack of skills as well as a host of other issues. In trying to address these challenges, it is important that we closely work together with all our brothers and sisters around the world,” High Commissioner Nandago said.

Towards this end, he said, Namibia’s Vision 2030, which states that Five-Year National Development Plans would be the main vehicles for achieving its objectives.

As members of the Commonwealth, Namibia and The Bahamas share a common commitment to promoting human rights, democracy and economic development.

“We commend the Commonwealth of The Bahamas for the strides you have made to eradicate poverty, by ensuring that development reaches the intended areas and thus creating employment for the people of your great country,” High Commissioner Nandago said.

“In Namibia, we are in the process of advancing our tourism sector and we wish to learn more from your experience. Your country has made enormous achievements through the development of the tourism industry,” he added.

High Commissioner Nandago obtained credentials in personal management and industrial relations, humanitarian aid and forced migrants, human resources management; specialised in artillery pieces, and held diplomatic postings in Uruguay, Brazil and the United States.

Namibia is located in southern Africa and is noted for its abundance of landscape, natural resources and democracy. It exports beef, fish, grapes, beer, textiles/garments, cut and polished diamonds, leather products, and arts and crafts.