India’s public and private businesses are ready to invest in resource-rich Namibia’s mining sector using environment-friendly processes to back the country’s developmental goals, President Pranab Mukherjee said today.
Addressing students of Namibia University of Science and Technology, Mukherjee said Namibia is blessed with rich natural resources and an abundance of mineral wealth.
“Their efficient extraction and value addition using environment-friendly methods will contribute to the sustainable development of Namibia’s mining sector. Our public and private enterprises stand ready to join your endeavors in this direction,” Mukherjee said.
He recalled the old friendship between the two countries and cited India’s example which was earlier a food importer and later emerged as the world’s largest producer of wheat and rice for two years.
“At the time of India’s independence, India, due to her weak agriculture sector, had to import food grains. However, soon enough, due to proper planning and synergy between science and public policy, the excellence of our scientists and the selfless toil of our farmers, our country saw a revolution in agricultural productivity,” he said.
He said in the sphere of bilateral trade and investment, fruitful economic exchanges between India and Namibia underscore the much larger potential waiting to be realised.
The President said an MoU has been signed on setting up a centre of excellence in IT in Namibia which will contribute to enhancing the capacity and skill levels of Namibian IT students and professionals.
“We intend to commence the setting up of this centre as soon as possible, in consultation with the Government of Namibia,” he said drawing huge applause.
Mukherjee said during bilateral discourse, the areas that have been prioritised for collaboration between the two countries include human resource development, capacity building and educational and cultural exchanges.
“In this context, I would like to mention India’s flagship programmes like Skill India, Make in India, Digital India and 100 Smart Cities as they could be successful models in Namibia as well,” he said.
The President said “India remains committed to partnering with Namibia as your people pursue their developmental goals and national aspirations embodied in Government of Namibia’s ‘Vision 2030’ and ‘Harambee Prosperity Plan’.
The President said both nations are fortunate that youth are brimming with ideas and enterprise.
“India, with an estimated 4,300 start-ups is emerging as the third largest start-up ecosystem in the world today. Not surprisingly, 72 per cent of the founders of these start-ups are below the age of 35. Their ventures represent impressive – and often simple – business models – from delivering essential commodities and affordable healthcare to creating improved and cost effective agricultural technology and on-line marketing, to name a few,” he said.
Mukherjee said their innovations have brought positive impulses to each and every sector of our economy – from handicrafts to tourism, education and transportation.
“The employment generated by these start-ups fosters inclusive growth and has the potential of improving the quality of life of millions of our citizens. I mention this as I am confident that by mobilising their youth,other developing economies too can channelise their untapped potential for achieving socio-economic transformation,” he said.
The President credited India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru for the scientific prowess of India which has developed over the years. Mukherjee said thanks to Nehru India adopted scientific and technological policies.
He said it was Nehru who emphasised on science education, research and development along with the establishment of technological institutes like IITs. Quoting Nehru, Mukherjee said “‘The future belongs to science and to those who make friendship with science.’ I bring his words to you as I am confident that they will kindle a light within you”.
“Our country is on the path of a technological revolution that, we hope, will empower our people. India is very satisfied with her maiden space mission to Mars, ‘Mangalyaan’. As the fourth country in the world to achieve this – and the first to do so in the first attempt – that, too, at a modest expenditure of only $74 million, India has proven that the sky is the limit, literally, when a nation is determined to succeed,” he said.
Mukherjee said in medicine, bio-technology and information technology, too, a dramatic revolution has taken place in India which has transformed our lives.
“Our mobile phone density is about 74.55 and we rank third after US and China in internet use. Nano-science and technology, solar energy, vaccines and drug discovery are other areas on which India is presently focused,” he said.
Early in the morning he laid a wreath at Heroes Acre, a memorial for unnamed soldiers who have fought against the oppression of Namibia. Mukherjee also visited Okapuka ranch to have a glimpse of rich wildlife of Namibia.