The Patron of the African World Heritage Fund, His Excellency Dr. Hifikepunye Pohamba, Former President of the Republic of Namibia will host a Business Leaders Breakfast event tomorrow on 14th September 2017 in Windhoek, Namibia. The event is organized jointly with the government of Namibia through the Office of the Former President and the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture. This event is aimed at the participation of the private sector and renowned business entities on issues of World Natural and Cultural Heritage protection and promotion. This activity will promote a holistic private sector engagement and raise a sense of ownership, stewardship and accountability for heritage protection and transmission of World Heritage sites in Namibia and Africa.

This fund raising event will create an opportunity for the private sector companies, entities, consortiums and individuals from Namibia and other countries to make pledges in order to advance the objectives of the Fund.

The African World Heritage Fund is an initiative of the African Member States of UNESCO and the African Union (AU) which was launched to support the effective conservation and protection of natural and cultural heritage of Outstanding Universal Value in Africa. Executive Director of the Fund Dr. Webber Ndoro adds that this project has been in the development stages for a while with researching and linking up with the necessary stakeholders. “It is a fact that the African World Heritage Fund holds a very special meaning for Africa since its establishment, in that Africa is the only continent with a Fund dedicated to the implementation of the World Heritage Convention. I am proud that throughout our journey, the Fund has developed partnerships with many other organisations and private sector engagement is still a very critical aspect”.

The Namibian Government has supported the operations of the Fund for many years through an agreement that was signed in 2014. “Our government has hosted a number of AWHF activities including the capacity building training courses in heritage management and nominations of sites to the prestigious UNESCO World heritage list. This has directly benefited heritage professionals in Namibia. It is important that other African countries and partners must come out to also support the Fund’s activities in various way”, says Hon. Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, Minister of Education, Arts and Culture of Namibia.,

Former President of Namibia, Dr Hifikepunye Pohamba is currently one of four Patrons of the African World Heritage Fund together with His Excellency Mr. Pedro de Verona Rodrigues, former president of the Republic of Cabo Verde and Heritage Expert, Dr. Christina Cameron from Canada and Mr. Phuthuma Nhleko, a prominent Businessman from South Africa. Dr. Pohamba is a global eminent personality who provides international prestige and leverage to the work of the Fund. “As identified in the Agenda 2063 of the Africa Union, issues of heritage underpin who we are as Africans and this define our aspirations and unity as a continent. It is very crucial as a country and continent to strengthen our support for the work of the Fund in order to allow it to help address the enormous challenges faced by the Heritages places in the continent and here at home. A collective investment in the Fund by Sates Parties as well as private sector will go a long way towards building good practices for our heritage resources”, says H.E. Dr. Pohamba ahead of the event tomorrow.

Namibia boasts two World Heritage Sites inscribed on the World Heritage prestige list which are, Namib Sand Sea and Twyfelfontein. The African World Heritage Fund has supported the inscription and management of these sites. As a result Namibia through UNESCO was able to enlist the Namib Sand Sea on the World Heritage List in 2013 with the Fund offering technical support throughout the nomination process. This World Heritage Site covers an area over three million hectares. It is the oldest desert with the highest dunes in the World that make up 84% of the World Heritage Site.

Twyfelfontein World Heritage Site was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2007. This World Heritage Site includes numerous galleries of rock engravings in sandstone, paintings and stone tools dating from the late Stone Age. The site is a dramatic pictographic library of the economic and ritual lives of the San people that originally inhabited the region.