Written by Windhoek Observer, 22/04/2016
Namibia’s biggest development aid benefactor Germany has vowed to continue assisting the country despite the Southern African country’s classification as an upper-middle-income nation.
Germany has poured over N$13 billion into the Land of the Brave since independence in 1990.
According to the World Bank, Namibia is classified as an upper-middle-income country with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita of around US$5,700.
“Over the last years we have seen a number of development partners pulling out of the country and shifting their engagement to other parts of the continent and the world. I’m very happy to say that Germany is probably the only country that is still offering financial cooperation grant funding to Namibia, because we believe that the classification of the World Bank, which is generally having the per capita income or the per capita GDP as the only indicator, is not really reflecting the reality in Namibia,” Germany Embassy Head of Cooperation Christian Grun told the Windhoek Observer.
“We have seen an impressive increase over the last ten years of development assistance from Germany going to Namibia and we’re hoping to keep it stable at that level, and at the same time Germany is one of the major contributors to other means of support, like the European Union, through its commission, which is very active in Namibia also.” Germany, according to its embassy figures, has pumped over N$13 billion in development aid into the country over the past 26 years and remains committed towards providing more cooperative support.
“The fact that we are still applying the grant funding through financial cooperation, that we are still providing also loan funding on very favourable terms, by subsidising loans with public money from Germany, gives you an example that we are of course following that debate and that we are drawing our own conclusions, and wherever it is possible to adapt the way we are staying engaged, we will do so in accordance with the Namibian government, but we are very much committed and from the embassy side we can say we are very much lobbying within the German government and the parliament to keep engaging the way we have been,” Grun said.
“All of our cooperation is based on bilateral agreements between the two governments. The rationale behind it, of course, is the special relationship between Namibia and Germany, which is also part of the reason why Germany has been committed, and will stay committed, to being one of the most important development partners for Namibia also in the future.”
He said Namibia was currently receiving the highest per capita development assistance from Germany in Africa.
“Obviously there are a number of reasons for that. There is a common history between Namibia and Germany, and this is one important part of that, but also it’s because we see a lot of potential in Namibia.
“We have a country which is very stable and we see political commitment from the government and also from other stakeholders in the country, so what we want to do is give support in achieving the goals set out in the National Development Plans and obviously Vision 2030, by providing support to the government and through the government to other stakeholders in the society. Our development cooperation is always based on the principle of capacity development within the country.”
The German diplomat said the cooperation with Namibia was mainly centred on three focal areas, which are natural resources management, sustainable economic development, and transport and logistics.
“We’re hoping to increase our cooperation in the field of logistics and also energy security, with the special focus on renewable energies,” he said.
Grun said the Namibian-German Special Initiative Programme that was mooted to improve the social and economic living conditions of communities, who have previously suffered under colonial rule, was close to conclusion.
Germany had funded the initiative to the tune of N$590 million.
“It was agreed last year that the programme will come to an end. We are in a phase where we are consolidating, which means we are not starting any new projections, but we are making sure that all those projects that have not been finished will be properly finished,” Grun said.
“The Namibian government has committed itself, because it’s a joint programme. It’s implemented through the National Planning Commission and the Namibian government has committed itself to see to it that whenever… there will be a need to finish the projects… that could not be finished beforehand, then the Namibian government will take that over so as to make sure that everything that has been promised and agreed upon with the local communities will actually be implemented.”