Fifty-one heads or their representatives will assemble at The Hyatt for the talks.
Two countries have been suspended - the Fiji Islands which was suspended from membership on September 21, 2009 and Nauru, which is in arrears.
We continue today with a daily feature on the Commonwealth and will feature the Heads of these States who are expected in Port-of-Spain in November.
Nahas Angula, 66, is the third Prime Minister of the Republic of Namibia since independence in March 1990, however, the first Prime Minister under the country’s new leadership of President Hifikepunye Pohamba who took over from the founding President, Dr Sam Nujoma on March 21, 2005. Prior to being appointed Prime Minister, he was the Minister of Higher Education, Training and Employment Creation that changed from the ministry of Higher Education, Vocational Training, Science and Technology.
Angula is a Member of the Namibian Parliament, the ruling party’s Politburo and Central Committee. He was a Member of the Constituent Assembly that drafted the country’s Constitution, which is today perceived as one of the best Constitutions across the globe.
Angula was also one of the ruling party’s three candidates, nominated at its Central Committee meeting to contest for the party’s presidential candidate, for the national elections that took place in November 2004.
Among Angula’s achievements during his reign as Education Minister is the establishment of a unified education, cultural and sportive system for the country in accordance with the then new ethos of democracy, unity and justice from Bantu Education. He has also published numerous policy papers on the country’s education.
On April 1, 1989, when the cease-fire agreement between SWAPO and South Africa broke down, Angula led a delegation of Officers of the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) to negotiate a cease-fire agreement with the South African Government.
Upon his return from exile in 1989, Angula assumed the task of Voter Registration and Education of SWAPO’s Election Directorate during the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 435.
Angula served as SWAPO’s first Secretary for Information and Publicity and later as Secretary for Education and Culture in Luanda, Angola, 1981, and as an International Civil Servant at the United Nations Headquarters from 1976 to 1980. He is also the founder member of Namibia Education Centre for Namibian Refugees near Lusaka, Zambia where he served as both a teacher and the Head of the School in 1974.
Angula holds MA and MED degrees from Columbia University in New York and a Bachelor of Education Degree from the University of Zambia. After Namibia’s independence, Angula continued his postgraduate studies at the University of Manchester, UK, on a distance learning basis. He is a winner of the Baxter Award for Best Student in the field of Education from the University of Zambia in 1972. The College of Prospectors of Britain awarded Angula an honorary degree in 1996. He is currently a member of Peace Research Association, International and Comparative Education Research Association (CIES), Twenty First Century Trust, a political think tank as well as of the NORAG, a research network linking Northern and Southern Researchers on development issues.
Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia, is a country in Southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana and Zimbabwe to the east, and South Africa to the south and east. It gained independence from South Africa on March 21, 1990 following the Namibian War of Independence. Its capital and largest city is Windhoek.
Namibia is a member state of the United Nations (UN), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU), the Commonwealth of Nations and many other international organisations. It has been given many names: the land of contrasts, the land God made in anger, the ageless land. For many years it was known only as South West Africa, but it adopted the name Namibia, after the Namib Desert. It is the second least densely populated country in the world, after Mongolia.
The dry lands of Namibia were inhabited since early times by Bushmen, Damara, Namaqua, and since about the 14th century AD, by immigrating Bantu who came with the Bantu expansion. It was visited by the British and Dutch missionaries during the late 18th century, but became a German protectorate in 1884. In 1920, the League of Nations mandated the country to South Africa, which imposed their laws and apartheid policy.
In 1966, uprisings and demands by African leaders led the United Nations to assume direct responsibility over the territory, changing the name to Namibia in 1968 and recognising South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) as official representative of the Namibian people in 1973. Namibia, however, remained under South African administration during this time. Following internal violence, South Africa installed an interim administration in Namibia in 1985. Namibia obtained full independence from South Africa in 1990.
Namibia has a population of 1.8 million people and a stable multiparty parliamentary democracy. Agriculture, herding, tourism and mining of precious stones and metals form the backbone of Namibia’s economy. Approximately half the population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day, and the nation has suffered heavily from the effects of HIV/AIDS, with 15 percent of the adult population infected with HIV in 2007.
The Christian community makes up at least 80 percent of the population of Namibia, with at least 50 percent of these Lutheran. At least 10 percent of the population hold Indigenous beliefs. The faith of the remaining portion of the population is unknown.
Missionary work during the 1800s drew many Namibians to Christianity. While most Namibian Christians are Lutheran, there also are Roman Catholic, Methodist, Anglican, African Methodist Episcopal, and Dutch Reformed Christians represented, as well as Jewish people.
Muslims in the country constitute approximately three percent of the population.
The official language is English. Until 1990, German and Afrikaans were also official languages. Long before Namibia’s independence from South Africa, SWAPO had decided on the country’s becoming officially monolingual, consciously choosing this approach in contrast to that of its neighbour which was regarded as “a deliberate policy of ethnolinguistic fragmentation.” Therefore, English became the sole official language of Namibia. Afrikaans, German, and Oshiwambo became recognised regional languages.
Half of all Namibians speak Oshiwambo as their first language, whereas the most widely understood language is Afrikaans. Among the younger generation, the most widely understood language is English. Both Afrikaans and English are used primarily as a second language reserved for public sphere communication, but small first language groups exist throughout the country.
The Central Plateau serves as a transportation corridor from the more densely populated north to South Africa, the source of four-fifths of Namibia’s imports.