Address by Ellen Gölz, Chargée d'Affaires a.i., on the occasion of the German National Day on 3 October 2020
Chargée d'Affaires a.i. Ellen Gölz (center) together with the team of the German Embassy Windhoek., © German Embassy Windhoek
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In 2020, we commemorate several anniversaries which are significant in Germany and Namibia and for our joint relations. While Namibia became independent in March 1990, Germany was reunited only a few months later, on October 3rd, 30 years ago. This is why we also celebrate 30 years of German-Namibian diplomatic relations this year.
10 years later, in 2000, a city partnership between the capital cities of Berlin and Windhoek was established which exists now for 20 years.
All this would have been ample reason to celebrate. However, this year, due to the Covid-19-pandemic, we are commemorating these anniversaries in a different way.
We are delighted to be able to present to you on October 3rd a concert by Trio Feminale performed live in Swakopmund, which will be streamed online. This concert is also part of our Beethoven Festival this year, on the occasion of the 250th birthday of the great composer.
The current times are challenging
The global pandemic has shown how fragile our existence is and how easy livelihoods can be threatened. The pandemic´s impact on health and the resulting humanitarian and socio-economic consequences affect all areas of life. It not only threatens lives and public health systems. It also bears significant negative economic, social and environmental impact, thus threatening jobs and livelihoods as well as biodiversity and ecosystems – in Namibia as well as all over the world.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also brought home to us how interconnected and interdependent we are in the globalized world. International cooperation, coordination and solidarity are key to an effective global response to COVID-19 as well as to the economic upheavals that are becoming evident.
We can only win the fight against the pandemic if we stand together. Germany intends to live up to its international responsibility. We continue to stand by the people of Namibia as well as others in the region and carry on our close cooperation with African partners at this difficult time.
850 million Namibian Dollars funding from the German Federal Government
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, funds amounting to about 850 million Namibian Dollars have been mobilized by the German Federal Government to support Namibia in fighting the pandemic and mitigating challenges on livelihoods and businesses. With these funds, a number of measures have been and are being implemented.
- The Robert Koch Institute together with the German Epidemic Preparedness Team provided capacity building to NIP and UNAM for local Covid-19 testing and delivered testing materials
- Within our financial cooperation we support the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism via our development bank KfW to protect biodiversity and secure jobs in the highly affected conservation and tourism sector in Namibia and the KAZA region. This includes securing the employment of 2,200 community game guards, rhino rangers, conservancy support staff and locally hired tourism staff. Also human wildlife conflict mitigation measures, anti-poaching measures and ongoing patrols are supported.
- In our technical cooperation we support various hygienic and prevention measures, such as improving awareness and hygiene in informal settlements as well as ensuring safe public transport. To allow informal businesses and traders to continue their business GIZ is also engaged to provide personal protective equipment and hygiene kits and the upgrading of markets and informal trading places.
- Special attention receives the support to small and medium enterprises. In cooperation with the Ministry of Industrialization and Trade, GIZ provides targeted support via coaching and grants to startups and SMEs to enable them to continue their business. Support is also provided in cooperation with the Development Bank of Namibia to easen the financial situation of enterprises highly affected by COVID-19 to support economic recovery during ths challenging time.
- With its micro-project fund and other funding made available by the German Foreign Office, the Embassy has provided immediate relief to people in need in various locations through food packages. We have also supported educational activities by providing hygienic equipment, educational material, laptop computers and scholarships.
The pandemic has brought fundamental changes to our lives and the Embassy’s activities. However, our priorities remain mostly unchanged. We continue to promote and protect human rights and are happy to be able to fund three projects this year with partners from civil society in Namibia. The human rights projects are dedicated towards awareness raising and prevention of gender-based violence as well as against the discrimination of LGBTIQ+-people.
We are glad that we were also able to continue our support for cultural activities. Together with Namibian artists Mel Mwevi, Ras Sheehama, Eike and Gretel Coetzee, Galilei Njembo and others we presented online concerts which brought diversion and uplifted spirits.
All these projects and activities could not have been realized without the excellent cooperation of Namibian partners. We would therefore like to thank all partners and stakeholders within the Government of the Republic of Namibia and the Namibian civil society for their cooperation and dedication despite all challenges in making sure that funds provided from Germany are used effectively and to the benefit of the people in Namibia.
We would also like to thank all members of the Team Germany in Namibia, in particular colleagues from GIZ, KfW, the Goethe Institut, the German-Academic-Exchange Service DAAD, the German Armed Forces Technical Advisory Group GAFTAG, the Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe BGR, the Deutsche Welle Akademie, DHPS, the German political foundations represented in Namibia as well as countless small and larger German NGOs, for continuing their work in Namibia in these difficult times.
On a personal note, I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to the outstanding team at the German Embassy. Organizing repatriation flights for more than 2,000 stranded tourists on a short notice was an achievement which probably none of us will ever forget.
die letzten Monate waren für viele von Ihnen hart. Die durch Dürre und Covid-19 schwierige wirtschaftliche Situation in Namibia hat viele in Bedrängnis gebracht. Dazu die Sorge um die eigene Gesundheit, von Familienangehörigen und Freunden hier oder in Deutschland.
Lassen Sie uns den heutigen Tag dennoch mit Freude über die vor 30 Jahren vollendete Wiedervereinigung Deutschlands begehen! Den vielen von Ihnen, die die Aktivitäten der Botschaft unterstützen oder auf andere Weise zur weiteren Verbesserung der deutsch-namibischen Beziehungen beitragen, möchte ich herzlich danken.
Ladies and Gentlemen, please join us in a toast to the friendship between our two countries and to the good health of our two Presidents, Dr. Hage Geingob of the Republic of Namibia, and Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier of the Federal Republic of Germany.
I wish you all good health, prosperity and happiness!