Germany and Namibia Celebrate 26 Years of Cooperation

By The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany - Windhoek
Listen to article

On Independence Day on 21 March 2016, Germany and Namibia are celebrating 26 years ofcooperation.

Since Namibia's independence in 1990, relations with Germany have been particularly intensive,due to:

• the shared history of the colonial period (1884-1915) and Germany's resulting special historicaland political responsibility,

• Germany's active diplomatic support for Namibia's independence as part of the Contact Group inthe framework of the United Nations in the 70's and 80's

• close cultural links to the German-speaking community and

• 26 years of sustainable and substantial bilateral development cooperation reaching more than 800million euros, the highest per-capita development cooperation in Africa.

Crucial for Germany's policy towards Namibia was the Resolution of the German Bundestag of1989 establishing Germany's special historical and political responsibility for Namibia. In anotherresolution of 2004 the German Bundestag remembered the victims of the colonial war of 1904-1907/8 and reaffirmed its determination to deepen the good bilateral relations. In 2007 then Speakerof the National Assembly Gurirab visited Berlin, followed by several visits to Germany by hissuccessor Katjavivi up until 2015. In March 2013 the Namibian-German Friendship Group and inNovember 2015 the Standing Committee on Economics, Natural Resources and PublicAdministration of the National Assembly visited Germany as well. In June 2015, the SADCParliamentary Group of the German Parliament reciprocated, preceded by a visit of the SportsCommittee of the German Bundestag in October 2014. In 2008 and 2015, the President of theGerman Bundestag Norbert Lammert came to Namibia.

The German-Namibian special relationship has manifested itself in many high-ranking visits on thegovernment level as well: The visits to Namibia by German Federal Chancellor Kohl in 1995 and ofGerman Federal President Herzog in 1998 as well as the visits to Germany by President Nujoma in1996 and 2002 and by President Pohamba in 2005 deserve special mention. Former FederalPresident Köhler represented Germany at the 25th Anniversary of Namibia's Independence and theinauguration of President Geingob in 2015.

In 2003 then German Foreign Minister Fischer visited Namibia. In Januar 2013, Namibian ForeignMinister Nandi-Ndaitwah held talks in Berlin with then Foreign Minister Westerwelle and thenFederal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development Niebel. In Juni 2014 she met presentGerman Foreign Minister Steinmeier in Berlin.

Then Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development Wieczorek-Zeul participated inthe central commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the colonial war in what was then GermanSouth West Africa. Her successor Niebel visited Namibia in 2010, 2011 and 2013. In April 2012then German Federal Minister of Education and Science Schavan came to Namibia to witness thelaunch of the "Southern African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adaptive LandManagement" (SASSCAL) in Windhoek.

Similar contacts exist on the regional and local level. Examples are the twinning agreementsbetween the State of Bremen and Namibia or between Windhoek and Berlin, Bremen andTrossingen as well as between Halle and Lüderitzbucht. Intensive contacts exist between churchgroups, NGO's and academics of both countries as well: In the framework of around 45 universitypartnership agreements, 142 students came from Germany to Namibia last year while 86 studentsfrom Namibia went to Germany.

In November 2015, the two governments appointed special envoys to spearhead the German-Namibian dialogue, Ruprecht Polenz for Germany and Dr. Zed Ngavirue for Namibia.

Economic Relations

Bilateral trade between Germany and Namibia was 274 million euros in 2014 (imports fromNamibia: almost 155 million euros, exports to Namibia: around 119 million euros). Main importsfrom Namibia are non-ferrous metals and other raw materials as well as foodstuffs. Main exports toNamibia are machinery and food items.

In the service sector, tourism is an important export earner: The almost 90,000 German visitorsevery year are by far the largest group of non-African tourists in Namibia.

One of the largest foreign investments in Namibia comes from Germany: In February 2011"Ohorongo Cement" started its operations in the presence of both the President of the Republic andthe Prime Minister. Schwenk Zement from Ulm in Germany is the majority shareholder. More than250 millionen euros have been invested so far. The company is creating 300 jobs directly andanother 2000 indirectly in the region. With a capacity of 700,000 tons per year the plant is projectedto supply other markets in Southern Africa as well. The investment stock of German companies inNamibia stands currently at almost 90 million euros.

Both governments aspire to expand the economic relations. For this purpose, a high-rankingNamibian delegation headed by Minister in the Presidency in charge of Economic Planning andPlanning Commission Alweendo visited Germany in June 2015 and the Parliamentary StateSecretary in the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy Zypries came to Namibia in July2015. Germany and Namibia have concluded both an investment protection and a double taxationagreement.

Development Cooperation

The bilateral development cooperation is an integral part and fundamental pillar of the specialrelationship between Namibia and Germany: Since 1990, more than 800 million euros of publicfunds have been made available for this purpose. This publicly funded development cooperation iscomplemented by a variety of private initiatives and activities of non-government organisations.

Germany and Namibia are working together in three priority areas:

- management of natural resources,

- transport and

- sustainable economic development.

An important component in our cooperation in all three areas is technical and vocational educationand training. Here we work closely together with the University of Namibia (UNAM) and theNamibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) in the fields of road construction, logisticsand environmental science and with the "Namibia Training Authority" (NTA) in road constructionand agriculture. As HIV/AIDS continues to jeopardise the social and economic development of thecountry at all levels, German development cooperation has supported the HIV/AIDS preventionefforts of its partners in the priority areas. Additional funds have been made available through the"Initiative for Climate and Environmental Protection" for the promotion of renewable energy. Since

2008, the German Governemnt has also supported through the "International Climate ProtectionInitiative" climate projects in developing countries and countries in transition including in Namibia.

In the framework of the Namibian-German Special Initiative, the German Government hassupported communal development measures in those parts of the country most affected bycolonialism. In 2012, the Namibian-German Special Initiative was expanded from 20 to 31 millioneuros. The projects are selected in close consultations with the affected communities andimplemented by the National Planning Commission.

During the Negotiations on Development Cooperation held between the Government of theRepublic of Namibia and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany on 1 and 2 October2015 in Berlin, the German Government committed funding to Namibia amounting to 71.9 millioneuros (around 1.3 billion NAD) in grant financing covering the period 2015 and 2016.

Cultural Relations

German-Namibian cultural relations are based on the bilateral Agreement Concerning CulturalCooperation of 1991. Together with an acoompanying exchange of verbal notes, it constitutes thelegal basis for the activities of the Goethe-Institut, the Deutsche Höhere Privatschule Windhuk(DHPS) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in Namibia and regulates the statusof their staff.

The German-speaking community is recognized as one of Namibia's several linguistic and culturalgroups. The German language is very present in Namibia, starting from the German-languagenewspaper "Allgemeinen Zeitung", the German service of NBC Radio and private radio stationslike "Hit-Radio" but also in tourism and other sectors of the Namibian economy.

Celebrating 25 years since Namibia gained its independence, 25 years since the end of the divisionof Germany and 25 years of German-Namibian diplomatic relations, the German Embassy incooperation with its partners from the cultural, political, economic, academic and developmentcooperation spheres, presented 'German Weeks 2015 in Namibia' from 2 March until 17 July, 2015die „Deutschen Wochen 2015 in Namibia“ featuring more than 50 events in various parts of thecountry offering a broad spectrum of activities.


On 1 January 2016, the Goethe-Institut started operations in Windhoek in the Erstorff Building fromwhich the erstwhile Goethe-Centre used to operate The Goethe-Institut offers German languagecourses that are frequented by more than 500 learners every year. Afrikaans and Oshivambo coursesare offered as well.

Deutsche Höhere Privatschule Windhuk (DHPS)

The DHPS has existed for over one hundred years. It is a bilingual school frequented by Germansand Namibians alike. Almost 600 out of more than 1200 students have another native language butGerman. Thus the DHPS reflects the linguistic and cultural diversity of Namibia. After 12 years itleads to either the NSSC (plus the DSD II German language exam) or to the German DIAP degree.In 2011 it received a certificate of excellence as one of the best German schools in the world. TheDHPS is subsidized by the German Foreign Office to the tune of 734,000 euros per year and 17teachers are seconded from Germany.

German Language

Almost 8000 students learn German as a foreign language at 52 schools throughout Namibia. Inaddition, more than 1300 native speakers are taught in their maternal language. In this context,

Germany is offering:

• pedagogic support for German-language teachers through the Goethe-Institut

• seconded teachers to the Namib High School Swakopmund and the Delta Secondary SchoolWindhoek

• additional support to five schools — DHPS, Martin Luther High School Okombahe, Namib HighSchool Swakopmund, Delta Secondary School Windhoek and Windhoek High School — through theinternational network of partner schools „PASCH“

• co-funding of student exchanges and scholarships

• advice to the German Department of UNAM through two representatives of the GermanAcademic Exchange Service (DAAD) based in Namibia

• training and content provided through Deutschen Welle, the German public broadcastingcompany, for the German service of NBC.Academic Exchange

Since 2004, the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, together with UNAM andseveral European partners, has run the "H.E.S.S.“ for research into high-energy cosmic radiation inthe Khomas Mountains. In September 2012, the telescope was officially handed over in thepresence of the then Minister of Education Dr. Iyambo.

More than 40 partnership agreements exist between German and Namibian universities.

TheNamibian-German Centre for Logistics (NGCL), a joint project of the Namibia University ofScience and Technology and the University of Applied Sciences in Flensburg, is one of five Centersof Excellence in Africa funded sponsored by the German Foreign Office. During the visit of thethen Federal Minister of Education and Research Schavan in April 2012 in Windhoek aMemorandum of Understanding was signed to create a "Southern African Science Service Centrefor Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management" (SASSCAL) with a German contribution of50 million euros.

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) grants scholarships for post-graduate studies inGermany as well as „sur place“ scholarships for studies in Namibia and South Africa.

Preservation of Cultural Heritage

Germany has spent over one million euros on the preservation of Namibia's cultural heritage since1985. The projects range from protecting the rock carvings at Brandberg, historic steam engines andrailroad cars via the documentation of oral traditions and music all the way to preserving colonialarchitecture (Estorff Building, Offiziershaus Warmbad, the building of the Namibia ScientificSociety) which Namibia's government and society consider to be part of their heritage.Sports

Germany and Namibia cooperate very closely in the area of sports as well. Every year coaches fromNamibia receive training courses in Germany. The courses are held at the Sports Academy of theGerman Football Federation in Hennef and at Leipzig University. Regular donations of sportsequipment by the German Foreign Office are bound to promote amateur sports in Namibia.15 March 2016 saw the opening of a new NFA Girls Centre which was funded by the GermanGovernment. The NFA Girls Centre provides a safe space for girls and young women to meet,participate in sporting activities and to be educated in life skills and HIV prevention

Deutsche Welle Academy

The Deutsche Welle Academy through its Namibia office supports community radio in rural areaswith training and equipment, promotes media and information literacy among the youth and in thiscontext advises NBC on its programming targeting the youth.