Foreign Affairs enters higher level
The Minister of Foreign Affairs recently addressed a full staff meeting on the ministry’s responsibilities, achievement and challenges. At this meeting, the minister indicated that the ministry is on the threshold of new functionality with the implementation of its Strategic Plan 2014-17.
Addressing the Windhoek staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the minister, Hon. Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said “We are in the process of finalizing our Strategic Plan 2014-17. This is the plan that will give us a projection of how the Ministry will look like in the future. As I indicated in my budget speech this year, our objective is to establish a foreign service and to have efficient Foreign Service Officials.” Elaborating on immediate and medium term actions, the minister said there are a number of events planned. “In July this year, we are going to have a Heads of Mission Conference that will finalize the various policy documents to achieve what I have just mentioned. For the first time, the Ministry is going to arrange a session with all our Honorary Consuls to devise ways of effective marketing of our country.
Any other developments from the Heads of Mission Conference will be communicated then.” Making sure that her staff is fully on board with all the new developments, the minister said the structure of the ministry will be reviewed to reflect the changing political, economic and social needs of Namibia and the global realities. It is planned that new departments and directorates will be established. Listing the priorities of the new Strategic Plan systematically, she said the draft Posting Policy to manage staff and missions abroad, will be circulated for input, adding that a code of conduct is to be developed, specifically for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Training and re-training will be optimized. Explaining the need for improvement, she said: “In my view, some of the primary problems that have hampered progress are lack of follow-up and lack of coordination between headquarters and our diplomatic missions abroad. These are but a few of the many challenges that we will have to deal with as a ministry. Therefore, we must redouble our efforts and commitment to achieve tangible results this year and beyond. It is my hope that through these interactions, we can identify shortcomings and agree on what we need to do to improve our service delivery.” She listed four points as crucial. “Firstly, there is need to inculcate work ethics in order to foster on-going development. “Secondly, the need for discipline, because discipline, effectiveness, and efficient service delivery are all inter-linked. If discipline is lacking, every aspect of our Ministry’s effort is compromised. “Thirdly, I want to highlight the importance of fiscal discipline because we are working in an environment of limited resources, with competing priorities. There has been some improvement; however I would like us to do more to ensure that the ministry’s expenditure is within limits. Proper utilization of resources in a cost effective and accountable manner is essential.
“The fourth point is even more important and that is the need for wide ranging reading and research.”