Draft national diaspora policy under discussion in Swakopmund

The lack of a comprehensive database on the Namibian diaspora make it difficult to ascertain the living conditions and wellbeing of Namibians abroad, Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation Executive Director, Ambassador Penda Naanda has said.

Naanda said no accurate current data exists on the number of Namibians living abroad. A 2013 study by the United Nations however indicated that in 2013, there were 137 498 Namibians living abroad.

According to available data from Namibian missions, the majority live in South Africa, followed by Zambia and the United States of America. This data is however not conclusive and more accurate information is needed, he stated.

Naanda was speaking at the opening of the first multi-sectoral technical workshop on the development of the implementation plan for the draft national policy on the Namibian diaspora in Swakopmund on Wednesday.

“With only 34 diplomatic missions around the world covering over 100 countries, it is imperative for the government to establish a policy that will enhance engagement between various Namibian institutions and the Namibian diaspora,” the executive director stated.

He added that through the development of a diaspora policy, the government will establish formal and institutionalised structures to engage with diaspora issues.

“Such engagement will also augment consular services for the Namibian diaspora, and support business initiatives for investment in Namibia,” Naanda emphasised.

The objective of the three-day workshop is for the draft national policy on the diaspora to be reviewed by stakeholders in Namibia, including civil society organisations, for the joint development of a multi-sectoral implementation plan.

Diaspora representative in Germany, Milner Mwangombe, who joined the event online, said a number of challenges and opportunities faced by the Namibian diaspora community can be unlocked through a diaspora policy.

“In the context of historical injustices, it is imperative that countries like Namibia have a diaspora policy in place to harness the potential of their diaspora communities. The diaspora represents a valuable resource for development, with skills, knowledge, and experience that can be leveraged to drive economic growth and social progress,” he noted.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency