UK High Commissioner introducing her work to Namibian media

By British High Commission Windhoek
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Today, HE Jo Lomas, the new UK High Commissioner accredited to Namibia, introduced herself and the focus of the British High Commission to Namibian media representatives.

During the media briefing, HE Jo Lomas outlined the priorities of the British High Commission: Supporting Namibia's economic growth and supporting the Namibian government's openness and transparency agenda.

At the media briefing, she also highlighted: “The UK has specific expertise in certain area that we are offering to the Namibian government. One of these is the development of Public Private Partnerships, which is vital to Namibia's aim of attracting more private finance. The UK is working with the Ministry of Finance not only to provide expertise and training but also on lessons learned. The UK has had some examples of PPP going wrong and we hope others can learn from our negative as well as positive experiences! I am also looking at other areas where the UK can support Namibian development, such as renewable energy and development of logistics corridors.

We can also help Namibia's growth by encouraging more British trade and investment in Namibia and I am working hard at making sure British business is aware of the opportunities here. But that will only happen if the conditions are right and mutually beneficial. Where British business tells me, and they do, that conditions are discouraging foreign investment I will pass that on to the relevant ministries. The last thing that any of us want is for foreign businesses to pull out of current and future investment in Namibia.”

Using the platform to highlight the second priority, Jo Lomas commented:

“Aligned to that is my second priority on openness and transparency. When I arrived here I was struck by His Excellency, the President's focus on this and I think he is absolutely right. I know some might ask, why Namibia should focus on this when there are some major challenges? My personal belief is that openness, transparency and access to information is essential to a country's development and to tackle corruption. The delivery of education, health, housing and many other services are improved when citizens know how taxes are being spent, where they can input into decision making and when services not being delivered as promised.”

The introduction to the media was followed by the launch of a newly produced film by Joe Vision Production, “Access to Information for Development”, directed by Joel Haikali and produced by Sophie Mukenge. The film was funded by the British High Commission.

The documentary is targeted at the general public, civil society and policy makers. The aim of this short film is to encourage renewed engagement on access to information in Namibia by looking at how access to information influences development. The film includes a range of real life examples from Namibia explaining how greater access to information can improve lives.