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India To Set Up A Faculty In Namibia

India will set up a faculty of engineering and management at the University of Namibia - a new milestone in New Delhi's programme of empowering developing countries// in Africa through education and the spread of technology.

This was announced Thursday by visiting Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma in the Namibian capital Windhoek.

Sharma is in Windhoek to attend the South African Development Community (SADC) Consultative Conference where India has been invited to attend as one of its international cooperation partners. The first-ever meeting of the Indo-SADC Forum is being held Friday.

The proposed Indian faculty at the University of Namibia's northern campus is the first such project anywhere for capacity-building in the education sector, said external affairs ministry spokesperson Navtej Sarna here.

The inaugural session of the SADC Consultative Conference was opened by Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba Wednesday.

Sharma discussed an entire range of bilateral and global issues with Pohamba, including the ongoing implementation of the Pan-African project that seeks to bridge the digital divide and connect 53 nations of the African Union through an optic fibre project.

A couple of memorandums of understanding are to be signed later. This will encourage India to play a more active role in joint exploration of minerals and in the energy sector in Namibia.

SADC is one of the most influential regional organisations in Africa and has 14 member countries - Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Madagascar.

India's trade with SADC countries has more than doubled from $1.5 billion in 1997 to over $4 billion in 2004-2005.

--Edited IANS
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