Mutelo pushes Nam-Asia business agenda

The Namibian High Commissioner to Malaysia and Ambassador to the Philippines, Anne Namakau Mutelo has been progressive Namibia’s business agenda in South East Asian (ASEAN) countries recently inviting the Philippines business community to come and invest in Namibia. 

Mutelo who is based in Malaysia and concurrently accredited to five of the ten ASEAN countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Timor-Leste) recently led a three day working visit to the Philippines to celebration Namibia’s 29th Independence and the 10th Anniversary of the establishment of the Honorary Consulate of Namibia to the Philippines. 

The Ambassador organised and successfully conducted a Philippines- Namibia Business Forum that brought together emerging Namibian businesses and entrepreneurs as well as those from the Philippines, in business-to-business networking and interactions.

The full schedule started with a courtesy call to Ambassador Leslie Java, Assistant Secretary for the Middle East and African Affairs of the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines. 

The two senior representatives explored the possibility of establishing a mechanism to have regular interactions through diplomatic consultations between their two Ministries of Foreign Affairs in the near future. 

“We are also going to pursue the lifting of visa requirements for Filipino Nationals to visit Namibia since Namibian nationals do not currently require visas to come to the Philippines and stay for a period of 30 days. This can be arranged on the principle of reciprocity”, Mutelo emphasized.

The Phillipines -Namibia Business Forum followed on 26 March 2019 where Namibian companies met together with their Filipino counterparts aspiring to strengthen trade and investment relations between the two countries. 

During the fruitful discussion and meetings, the Philippine Business community expressed interest in exploring investment opportunities in agriculture, fisheries, tourism and infrastructure development. The business to business matching session was organized by the Chairperson of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) and Namibia’s Honorary Consul to the Philippines, Dr William Santos Co and his team, in close collaboration with the Embassy of Namibia in the Philippines based in Malaysia. 

Dr. Santos Co, who owns the ICCT Colleges also offered scholarships to three Namibian students to pursue further studies in the fields of engineering, bio-medical studies and information technology. 

These three students have already graduated and are now meaningfully employed in Namibia and contributing to the socio-economic development of the country because of the first class education and valuable skills that they acquired while in the Philippines.

A cocktail reception was held at the Shangri-La Hotel, in Manila, Philippines to celebrate the 29th National Day of Namibia where around 200 guests from the Philippine Government, private sector, business community, Chamber of Commerce and Industry as well as academia gathered to learn more about Namibia and the business opportunities available. 

Mutelo told the gathering that Namibia and the Philippines are planning to set up a pharmaceutical processing factory for traditional Chinese medicine from cattle kidney stones and seals in Namibia. Such a Factory has the potential for creating about 500 employment opportunities and will facilitate skills transfer to Namibian Nationals.

“I am happy to inform that the Namibian Cabinet has already approved this investment proposal and tasked the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development to promote trade and investment between the two countries, especially in the implementation of this decision,” she said.

The bilateral relations between Namibia and the Philippines go back to a long time ago. Filipino nationals and experts have contributed tremendously to Namibia’s developmental efforts since our independence, especially in the agriculture, education and health sectors.

The two Governments are already closely cooperating in the fields of agriculture, education, and health. Professionals and experts from the Philippines have been assisting in Namibia’s social and economic development through the provision of capacity building programmes through the provision of teachers, medical personnel and agricultural specialists.

“I am happy to indicate that one of the best hospitals in Namibia’s capital city, Windhoek, is administered by a Filipino National. Over 30 Filipino health professionals are also employed at one of our private health facilities, the Ongwediva Medi Clinic, in the north of our country, where the majority of our population resides and where medical services are needed the most,” she said.

Mutelo urged the Philippine business community to consider investing in Namibia because of its strategic location as a gateway to the larger southern African market of over 400 million people.