…Signs agreements close to N$1 billion
The German government is confident that the ongoing genocide negotiations between the two countries will not fail and vowed to continue being a development partner to Namibia. These were the remarks the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany of Christian Matthias Schlaga when he signed a Financial and Technical Cooperation Agreement between Germany and Namibia totalling 71.9 million Euro. Tom Alweendo, Minister of Economic Planning and Director General of the National Planning Commission and signed on behalf of Namibia. Schlaga was asked whether the development ties between Namibia and Germany will continue should the two countries fail to reach common grounds during the ongoing genocide negotiations. The negotiations will not fail, we are confident, he said.
Schlaga said the historical past between the two countries is one of the reasons why Germany continues to support Namibia on the development front. Alweendo welcomed the support from Germany but cautioned that there should not be too many bureaucratic processes involved when it comes to releasing funds meant to implement programmes. “These things affect the implementation rate, therefore we must ensure that we do not place too many layers when it comes to releasing funds. This however does not mean we should lessen monitoring and control of how money is spent, that will still be in place,“ Alweendo said. Alweendo emphasised that the focal areas of the cooperation are to support the Namibian Government in its efforts to reduce poverty and unemployment, to improve the population’s overall living conditions and to strengthen the country’s infrastructure, as well as to foster economic development.
He said that Germany’s support is fully aligned to the Harambee Prosperity Plan and to Namibia’s National Development Plans. Ambassador Schlaga reiterated Germany’s commitment to remain a reliable partner despite Namibia’s status as an upper-middle income country. Due to the historic connection between Namibia and Germany, their partnership has remained close and constructive ever since Namibia became independent in 1990. Development cooperation is a key factor in this partnership and Germany is Namibia’s largest bilateral development partner,“ said the two in a joint statement. The two countries held Intergovernmental Negotiations on Development Cooperation in October 2015 where both governments agreed to continue the successful cooperation in the three focal areas of Management of Natural Resources, Sustainable Economic Development and Transport/Logistics.
The importance of skilled labour for development was emphasised by all partners and is treated as a crosscutting issue in all focal areas, through support to vocational education and training as well as higher education. The agreements include grants of 30 million Euro for projects to be financed through the German Development Bank (KfW). Individual projects to be funded include the extension and maintenance of the Namibian road system as well as infrastructure support to the extension of the UNAM campus in Ongwediva and Katima Mulilo. A new project will improve solid waste management in Namibia’s protected areas.
Additional funding was provided for the finalization of the ongoing projects of the Namibia-German Special Initiative. The project will officially be closed at the end of the year. A total of 39.9 million Euro will be implemented through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) for programmes such as the Promotion of Vocational Education and Training, Support to Land Reform, Sustainable Use of Namibia’s Mineral Potential, Strengthening of Institutional and Management Capacity of the Road Sector, Biodiversity-Management and Climate Change, Groundwater Management in Northern Namibia and Support to Conservancies.
The next bilateral Negotiations on Development Cooperation are envisaged to take place in Namibia in 2017.