It is my great honor and pleasure to be here today for the hand over from the American people to the Namibian people of the Gobabis Regional Study and Resource Center.
One of my earliest memories of growing up was when, at six years old, my mother took me to the public library to get my library card. That was nearly half a century ago, but it remains one of the pivotal moments in in my life.
I recall the excitement I felt when I saw ALL of the information that I could access. I recall the care I took when I found a book that interested me. I recall the pride I felt when I finished my first book. I also recall the responsibility I felt when I returned my first book and checked out another.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that those experiences aren’t shared by many people who didn’t have access to libraries.
It is why this hand over, and the hand over ceremonies for similarly spectacular libraries in Oshakati and Helao Nefidi were so special to me, personally.
The Government of Namibia recognized the importance of libraries for all Namibian citizens to have access to information…and…to have their own library stories…like mine related earlier.
The government jump started its new goal of creating a library culture by constructing this and two other RSRCs with funding provided by the United States of America.
The United States offered this funding through the Millennium Challenge Corporation, which partners with nations intent on building infrastructure and investing in its people. More than five years ago, the Namibian government sought support for its infrastructure improvement plans. Namibia’s…
- good governance,
- strong, democratic systems, and
- government culture of investing in Namibians…
were central to Namibia accessing the unique funding offered by the United States government.
The United States and Namibia entered into a Compact in 2009 in a donor-recipient relationship through which the United States Government provided about N$3 billion in today’s Namibian dollars to help Namibia create opportunity through economic growth.
This endeavor required trust in each other’s commitment and ended in proven competitive systems with a solid record for managing infrastructure projects, and a strong understanding of each other’s goals, ideals and processes.
What started as a donor-recipient relationship, ended in a new, trusting partnership between nations with common goals, a partnership between equals committed to improving opportunity for all Namibians.
It is this new partnership, forged through five years of dedication, trust, and hard work that we plan to use as the foundation for relations between our two countries.
The N$3 billion Compact was designed to reduce poverty and promote economic growth through improvements in Education, Tourism, and Agriculture sectors.
This new Regional Study and Resource Center is a part of the education project that creates opportunity for all Namibians to access the information they need to build their knowledge and explore their world. The three RSRCs funded by the US government are just the beginning. I understand that the Namibian government’s goal is to build such a Resource Center in every one of its regions.
This Center will provide you with the answers and direction you seek to:
- Gain the knowledge and confidence to land a better paying job
- Improve your business
- Solve challenges affecting you and your family
- Answer any question you may have about the world around you
- Help make your dreams come true.
Use it to challenge yourself and thereby create for yourself a better future…and a stronger Namibia.