Sunday 11 April 2021
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Ambassadorship not a retirement home

The list of Namibians tipped to be on their way out to represent Namibia at the different Embassies and High Commissions across the globe shows how little we recognise the importance of the global diplomatic stage, especially due to the fact that most of the appointees will soon hit retirement age.
President Hage Geingob would always say “Namibia is a child of international solidarity”.
These are strong sentiments that ought to be regarded highly, simply because those who are deployed to represent the interests of Namibia on the international stage have a huge task to advance the agenda of the country.
If Namibia were a corporate company, our diplomats would be employed as marketers or brand developers.
It is therefore critical that we dispatch the right people to represent the country.
In South Africa, the President recently appointed an accomplished team of economic envoys to make a business case for foreign direct investment in South Africa. As a country our size, and with the current economic challenges we are not able to emulate this.  Therefore our diplomats must be commissioned to position Namibia as a unique destination in terms of her people, policies, business opportunities and also for tourists.
It serves us no purpose to send people who are at the sunset of their careers, especially those who have not made any significant contributions to the growth of the country. By significant contributions I am not referring to struggle credentials.
As witnessed many at times, the international diplomatic arena is robust and not for the faint-hearted.
An ambassador is the President’s highest-ranking representative to a specific nation or international organization abroad.
One of the primary responsibilities of an ambassador is to represent the political interests of her country in the host nation. Representing the interests of a country can obviously mean a lot of things, including communicating how her/his government feels about important issues of relevance to both countries. An ambassador is responsible for initiating legal proceedings on behalf of her/his country in the court system of the host country, as well as defending against any legal challenges.
An effective ambassador has to be a strong leader—a good manager, a resilient negotiator, and a respected representative of the Land of the Brave.
Another key role of an ambassador is to coordinate the activities not only of the foreign service officers and staff serving under him/her, but also to representatives of other Namibian agencies and nationals in a specific country. As a country, it is pivotal to ensure that every individual we dispatch to serve as a Namibian diplomat should able work with foreign governments to secure investors and favourable trade conditions for Namibia.
They must also be political officers who can provide up-to-date on political events and changes occurring in the country. We cannot ill-afford to have ambassadors who only attend cocktail events and in most cases fail to leave their mark in the countries they are posted to.
One of the reasons why Namibia has not had the desired number of investors is simply because those we have sent out have been sitting on their laurels.
Running a mission is a costly exercise which costs taxpayers millions monthly, hence the appointing authority should at all times keep diplomats on their toes and ensure that there is a return on investment so that taxpayers have a sense of comfort that their tax money is being put to good use.
Namibia’s designated ambassador have undergone a training workshop and it is out hope that they have grasped the nation’s expectations and that they will go out and represent the interests of Namibia at all times.

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