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India can help us strengthen defence, anti-terrorism: Namibian envoy

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New Delhi: Assistance in building up a strong defense system, peace keeping and an efficient anti-terrorism arrangement are among the prime topics to be discussed between India and Namibia during the upcoming Indo-Africa Forum Summit here, the country’s envoy said.

Namibian High Commissioner to India, Pius Dunaiski, said that to boost the country’s defence system, they wanted India to train officers in the Namibian Army, Air Force and Navy on advanced techniques and facilities being used by the defence forces of other nations.

“India had played a important role in establishment of Namibian Air Force. In fact we had bought the first helicopters from India. It also helped in educating and training the Namibians officers from Ministry of Defence, but now we want the training to be further developed,” Dunaiski told IANS in an interview.

The fifty-eight-year old diplomat, who has also been Namibia’s envoy to Germany and Angola, said: “The anti-terrorism capabilities and the peace-keeping strategies are India’s asset, and Namibia can get a lot of help, and learn in both the sectors,” said the envoy of Namibia, which was part of South Africa till 1990.

Noting that while Namibia had no problem of terrorism or conflict, Dunaiski said, “It’s always good to have arrangements done as the world is a global village and one never knows what may strike when. India has excellent anti-terrorism system. Peace-keeping is also important because the world is well aware of the India’s role in peacekeeping in other countries.”

African nations, especially Nigeria, in past few years have witnessed the problem of terrorism caused by Islamic terror groups like Boko Haram and Islamic States of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Through a map released by the ISIL in late-2014, ISIL had mentioned its presence in countries they seek to imminently control, which included all Arab countries and nearly half of all Africa.

Stating that there were four important sectors, including agriculture, Dunaiski said that the Namibian delegation will have detailed talks with their Indian counterparts and would want the Indian companies to invest in all of them.

“Infrastructure development, agriculture, industrialisation, and most importantly, the mining sector will be the prime areas of discussion with the Indian counterparts. Agriculture especially because the technology the Indians use in agriculture is very adaptable for the Africans. Industrialisation will be another important area because we want development in that sector,” Dunaiski told IANS.

Calling mining the backbone of Namibian economy, Dunaiski said talks will be held over mining of diamonds, zinc and gold.

According to the envoy, Namibia has a target named “Vision 2030” and all major investment exchanges with countries were a part of it.

India and Namibia have earlier signed five agreements, including one on civil nuclear energy, which allows for supply of uranium from the African country.

A delegation of nearly 85 members, including President Hage Geingob, his wife, and cabinet ministers of finance, national planning, mining and agriculture will arrive in the national capital before the summit. Twenty Namibian industrialists are also likely to hold talks with their India counterparts as a part of the delegation.

Dunaiski also said that Namibia can be the leading contributor of uranium to India as it seeks to develop power through nuclear energy.

“As India has a huge population, they will need power in the future. Although nuclear energy is being tried, it’s only 4 per cent as of now. As stated by the Indian government, if they really want to make 20 per cent of the power from nuclear energy, then there is a good opportunity lying before us,” said the envoy, who was posted to India in 2013.

However, Dunaiski also said that there existed tough competition for India as Japan, China and others were also working hard to collaborate with the African nations to boost their economic ties.

“Africa is a continent rich in resources, but there is a huge competition ahead India. There is a separate forum of Japan and Africa, followed by China-Africa, and so on. The competition is so tough that Turkey, Hungary and several others, too, have specific forums for Africa to plan the exchange of investments. India, in fact, is a bit late,” he said.

The Republic of Namibia is a vast, sparsely populated country situated along the south Atlantic coast. In 2014, it bought 3,400 Indian-made electronic voting machines (EVMs) at a cost of Namibian $10 million.

( Rupesh Dutta,IANS)

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World’s Anti-Corruption Day

The U.S. Statement Department said in its Friday statement that it pledges "to continue working with our partners to prevent and combat corruption worldwide."

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Anti-Corruption
Bulgarian anti-corruption protesters march during a demonstration in downtown Sofia, VOA

Corruption costs the world economy $2.6 trillion each year, according to the United Nations, which is marking International Anti-Corruption Day on Sunday.

“Corruption is a serious crime that can undermine social and economic development in all societies. No country, region or community is immune,” the United Nations said.

The cost of $2.6 trillion represents more than 5 percent of global GDP.

The world body said that $1 trillion of the money stolen annually through corruption is in the form of bribes.

Patricia Moreira, the managing director of Transparency International, told VOA that about a quarter of the world’s population has paid a bribe when trying to access a public service over the past year, according to data from the Global Corruption Barometer.

Moreira said it is important to have such a day as International Anti-Corruption Day because it provides “a really tremendous opportunity to focus attention precisely on the challenge that is posed by corruption around the world.”

Journalist, Anti-Corruption
An activist places candles and flowers on the Great Siege monument, after rebuilding a makeshift memorial to assassinated anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, in Valletta, Malta. VOA

Anti-corruption commitments

To mark the day, the United States called on all countries to implement their international anti-corruption commitments including through the U.N. Convention against Corruption.

In a statement Friday, the U.S. State Department said that corruption facilitates crime and terrorism, as well as undermines economic growth, the rule of law and democracy.

“Ultimately, it endangers our national security. That is why, as we look ahead to International Anticorruption Day on Dec. 9, we pledge to continue working with our partners to prevent and combat corruption worldwide,” the statement said.

Moreira said that data about worldwide corruption can make the phenomena understandable but still not necessarily “close to our lives.” For that, we need to hear everyday stories about people impacted by corruption and understand that it “is about our daily lives,” she added.

She said those most impacted by corruption are “the most vulnerable people — so it’s usually women, it’s usually poor people, the most marginalized people in the world.”

Anti-Corruption
Anna Hazare raised his voice against corruption and went ahead with his hunger strike at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. Wikimedia Commons

The United Nations Development Program notes that in developing countries, funds lost to corruption are estimated at 10 times the amount of official development assistance.

What can be done to fight corruption?

The United Nations designated Dec. 9 as International Anti-Corruption Day in 2003, coinciding with the adoption of the United Nations Convention against Corruption by the U.N. General Assembly.

The purpose of the day is to raise awareness about corruption and put pressure on governments to take action against it.

Tackling the issue

Moreira said to fight corruption effectively it must be tackled from different angles. For example, she said that while it is important to have the right legislation in place to curb corruption, governments must also have mechanisms to enforce that legislation. She said those who engage in corruption must be held accountable.

“Fighting corruption is about providing people with a more sustainable world, with a world where social justice is something more of our reality than what it has been until today,” she said.

Anti-Corruption
It is important to have the right legislation in place to curb corruption

Moreira said change must come from a joint effort from governments, public institutions, the private sector and civil society.

The U.S. Statement Department said in its Friday statement that it pledges “to continue working with our partners to prevent and combat corruption worldwide.”

It noted that the United States, through the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development, helps partner nations “build transparent, accountable institutions and strengthen criminal justice systems that hold the corrupt accountable.”

Also Read: British Parliament Access Internal Facebook Data Scandal Papers: Report

Moreira said that it is important for the world to see that there are results to the fight against corruption.

“Then we are showing the world with specific examples that we can fight against corruption, [that] yes there are results. And if we work together, then it is something not just that we would wish for, but actually something that can be translated into specific results and changes to the world,” she said. (VOA)