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Former U.S. President George W. Bush shakes hands with students at Ella du Plessis Secondary School in Windhoek, Namibia | Coastweek

WINDHOEK Namibia (Xinhua) -- Former U.S. President George W. Bush [front left] shakes hands with students at Ella du Plessis Secondary School in Windhoek, Namibia. Former U.S. President Bush [first right] is seen with former First Lady of Namibia Penehupifo Pohamba [second right], and First Lady of Namibia Monica Geingos [third right] during visit a health facility at the Windhoek Central Hospital in Windhoek, Namibia. George W Bush and his wife Laura arrived in Namibia on Wednesday for a two day visit, aimed at highlighting the impact of interventions as well as programmes implemented in Namibia by the U.S. government, especially in the areas of HIV. XINHUA PHOTOS - JOHANNA ABSALOM

Namibia education ministry undertakes public expenditure review

WINDHOEK Namibia (Xinhua) -- The Namibian Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture is undertaking a public expenditure review to ensure that the ministry has efficiency measures in place to promote funds accountability for value addition amidst budget cuts.

This was revealed by Minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa on Wednesday at the National Assembly during her budget motivation speech.

According to Hanse-Himarwa, in spite of the negative effects of the budget cuts, the ministry fully supports the objective of fiscal consolidation as a catalyst to financial sustainability in the long run.

However, the budget cuts will negatively affect the implementation of the information communication technology (ICT) programme, especially the roll out of ICT equipment to educational institutions, she said.

"Deployment of information communication technology to schools is still a difficult process because most of the schools are not electrified in rural areas and low internet connectivity remains a challenge," she said.

The ministry’ budget ceiling was reduced by 3 percent, from 12.3 billion Namibian dollars in the 2016/17 financial year, to 11.9 billion Namibian dollars (910 million U.S. dollars) in 2017/18 financial year.

As part of the review process, set to be concluded later in the year, the ministry has reduced and in some cases ceased non-productive expenditures such as travelling allowances, furniture procurement and overtime.

The recruitment process, according to Hanse-Himarwa, is also closely monitored to ensure that only critical and budgeted vacancies are filled and secondly to ensure that the wage bill that is taking 85 percent of the ministerial budget allocation is not expanded.


Namibian president warns against youth unemployment

WINDHOEK Namibia (Xinhua) -- Namibian President Hage Geingob on Wednesday said the youth unemployment had the potential to undermine the peace and stability of the country.

Speaking at the State of the Nation address at parliament, Geingob said the insufficient job creation was attributable to investment flows that are largely concentrated in the resource sector and capital-intensive industries.

Currently the country’s unemployment rate stands at 39.2 percent.

The president said that one key strategy the government is deploying to arrest the youth unemployment is promotion of high-quality vocational education and skills training.

He said last year, more than 24,000 students were enrolled in vocational institutions against the 16,000 that were targeted for.

Namibia facing skills shortage in health sector

WINDHOEK Namibia (Xinhua) -- Namibian President Hage Geingob said the country continued to face acute shortages of skills and experience, especially in the health sector.

Speaking at the State of the Nation address on Wednesday, he said in the public health sector, the per capita ratio of doctors is one to every 5,092 people while that of a registered nurse is one to 914 people.

This is against the World Health Organization’s benchmark of one doctor or one nurse per 435 people.

Geingob said that the Medical School at the University of Namibia is one of many investments in ensuring the provision of critical skills.

The school produced its first ever set of graduates last year with about 35 students graduating out of the 57 who enrolled in 2010 when the school started.

Namibian deputy PM calls China true friend of developing countries

BEIJING China (Xinhua) -- China is a true friend of developing countries, said Namibian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, as she welcomed more Chinese investment in the southwestern African country.

Ndaitwah made the remarks at a press conference here on Wednesday after she concluded what she described as an important three-day visit to China at the invitation of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Ndaitwah said the main purpose of her visit was to discuss with the Chinese side a range of bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest and common concern.

"As a developing country, China is very much aware of the concerns and aspirations of other developing countries," Ndaitwah said, adding her country is truly grateful that China continues to be a true and trusted all-weather friend.

In 2016, Namibia declared a state of emergency after experiencing a devastating drought that caused tremendous hardship to its people.

China responded by donating 4,000 tons of rice to Namibia and pledged a further consignment worth 20 million RMB (around 3 million U.S. dollars).

"This is a testimony of a strong relationship China has proven on multiple times that it is a true friend of developing countries," Ndaitwah said.

She urged the two countries to step up economic cooperation, especially in investment and trade in areas of manufacturing, value addition, agriculture, among others.

She also invited Chinese businesses to forge joint ventures with Namibian companies.

"Chinese people are always welcome to visit Namibia not only for conferences and business, but also as tourists," she added.

Chinese state councilor meets Namibian deputy PM

BEIJING China (Xinhua) -- State Councilor Yang Jiechi met with Namibian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah on Tuesday.

Yang said China had always viewed Namibia as an important cooperative partner and one of the priorities of its African policy.

Hailing the sound development of bilateral ties in recent years, Yang hoped that the two sides could give play to the advantages of political mutual trust, traditional friendship and economic complementarity, to comprehensively deepen mutually beneficial cooperation and better serve the interests of their people.

Ndaitwah said Namibia and China enjoy a long history of friendship.

Namibia is ready to work with China to enhance mutually beneficial cooperation and strengthen coordination in international affairs, so as to jointly safeguard the just rights and interests of developing nations, said Ndaitwah.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi also met with Ndaitwah earlier Tuesday.


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