German Development Cooperation with Namibia

German Cooperation

German Cooperation, © AA


Bilateral development cooperation is an integral part of the special relationship between Namibia and Germany.

A world in which everyone can live a self-determined life in freedom, a world without poverty, violent conflicts and environmental degradation – international development policy has set itself the goal of coming closer to this ideal.

Bilateral Development Cooperation

Bilateral development cooperation is an integral part of the special relationship between Namibia and Germany: Since 1990, about 1.6 billion euros of public funds have been made available for this purpose. Namibia thus has the highest per capita input by the German government in Africa. The current portfolio of the Financial Cooperation (grants and loans), which is implemented by KfW, comprises 40 projects/programmes and has a volume of 582 million Euro (11.4 billion N$), while a pipeline of 12 new measures with 301 million Euro (5.9 billion N$) is under preparation. The Technical Cooperation, which is implemented via GIZ, comprises 13 projects/programmes with a volume of 82.1 million Euro (1.7 billion N$) and pipeline of 4 new measures with 22.5 million Euro (462 million N$) is under preparation.

During the government negotiations in June 2023, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) made a commitment of 51.5 million Euro for bilateral development cooperation. This comprised 22 million Euro in Financial Cooperation funding and 29.5 million Euro in Technical Cooperation funding.

The focus of the cooperation is on the following three core areas:

  1. Sustainable economic development, training and employment | Areas of intervention: technical and vocational education and training, private sector and financial sector development
  2. Climate and energy, just transition | Areas of intervention: Sustainable urban development, renewable energy and energy efficiency
  3. Conserving nature and natural resources, protecting life on Earth | Areas of intervention: biodiversity, water

Increasing training and creating jobs

The Namibian Micro-, Small and Medium Enterprises provide about 160,000 jobs in trade and services. The private sector is key for economic development and growth in Namibia. Better access to finance and more diversification and local value creation is needed in the area of natural resources and mining. Germany’s activities in this area aim to contribute to the development of a social market economy and an enabling environment for private sector development, thereby facilitating as many people as possible to participate with jobs and income opportunities in social and economic life. The focus of German development cooperation is therefore on technical vocational education and training, promoting MSMEs, private sector development, establishing local value chains, reforming public enterprises, and developing the financial system.

Decent living conditions in growing cities and promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency

German development cooperation activities focus on promoting sustainable and inclusive urban development. Namibia is undergoing a comprehensive transition from a rural to an urban society. The urban population has tripled since independence, and trend projections predict that 75 percent of the population will live in cities by 2050. This means that development challenges such as poverty, education and health are increasingly shifting to the urban context. Urban growth in Namibia is taking place to a large extent through the establishment, and expansion of informal settlements, in which the inhabitants live without secure land rights and often under deplorable conditions. The formalization efforts face a broad spectrum of challenges. In addition to affordability development aspects such as resilience, security, and hygiene need to be addressed for the creation of local livelihoods. The projects bundle the commitment of residents and experts from various disciplines to create liveable urban neighbourhoods as a positive vision and element of inclusive and sustainable urban development in Namibia.

The Namibian energy sector is characterized by the high dependency on electricity imports. At the same time, only around 50% of the Namibian population have currently access to electricity. With a view on preventing climate change and improving energy access Germany is supporting the Namibian side through technical and financial cooperation in promoting renewable energy, energy efficiency and developing a green energy sector. This includes support to rural electrification via off grid solutions and peri-urban electrification by grid extensions, financing the Development Bank of Namibia to provide loans for renewable energy projects, constructing a solar park in Rosh Pina and a battery energy storage system. In addition, Germany support Namibia in the area of Green Hydrogen with a variety projects for capacity building and technical advice to unfold the industrialisation potential of Green Hydrogen.

Protecting the natural environment and using it sustainably and preserving the water resources

Namibia’s natural resources are vital to the lives of its population and form the basis of the country’s economic development, for example through agriculture, mining and tourism. The fair and sustainable use of natural resources is a core goal of Namibia’s strategy for alleviating poverty, and a key requirement for maintaining social peace. Germany is supporting Namibia’s efforts to conserve its natural resources, to use them sustainably and to enable fair access for all. Germany is promoting communal land reforms in order to secure land titles and land use rights. More than 900,000 people are benefiting from the mapping and registration of their plots of land. The BMZ is supporting the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism in its efforts to improve the management of the country’s national parks. One goal is to protect and maintain the biological diversity of plants and animals; another is to promote the careful and responsible use of natural resources for the purpose of tourism, with the aim of opening up alternative income opportunities and creating new jobs. Also, over 30,000 people have already benefited from the revenue generated by parks and conservation areas that have received financial support from Germany.

Namibia is situated in a very challenging location – water-wise – with limited surface water, high evaporation and scattered groundwater with differing quality. The challenges are found in the entire country. With rapid climate change there is a fluctuating and increasingly erratic annual rainfall. At the same time with a growing population, the gap between water demand and supply is ever increasing and access to water endangered. Since years, German development cooperation is active in the water sector and committed to priority projects of the Namibian government. This comprises the Water Sector Support Programme (WSSP I and II) which aim at rehabilitation of key infrastructure, securing the potable water supply in the northern, the central coastal and the central area. In the central Windhoek area German cooperation is financing the rehabilitation of the Otjomuise and Gammams Waste Water Treatment Plant and the Direct Potable Water Reclamation Plant II. Two more projects to improve the water supply in the northern are under preparation.

Cooperation outside priority areas

  • I. Transport

Transport infrastructure is key for developing a sparsely populated country of this size and creating inclusive and equal market access for goods and services as well as enlarging the market size with regional integration. The former priority area transport has a long history of 30 years in the development cooperation of Namibia and Germany. Since then remarkable successes have been achieved. E.g.over 585 qualified civil engineers have graduated since 2005 and the construction and rehabilitation of more than 1800 km of roads has been co-financed by the Federal Republic of Germany. Against this backdrop, phasing out of the focal area was initiated in 2019. To date, the area comprises seven projects, which need to be finished. The focus in Financial Cooperation is on labour intensive road construction and support to the rehabilitation of key Namibian road infrastructure (inter alia upgrading the stretch between Usakos and Karibib). In addition, the extension of the UNAM Campus in Ongwediva for civil and environmental engineering and the PhD program is supported.

  • II. Sustainable development goals initiative

Cooperation is also continuing in the area of good governance with the aim of implementing the 2030 Agenda, the National development Plans and Harambee Prosperity Plan II by supporting: the National Planning Commission with planning processes and structures; the National Statistics Agency with strengthening the statistical system; the Revenue Authority and the Ministry of Finance to improve revenue collection for financing development priorities.

  • III. COVID-19 rescue package for small and medium-sized enterprises

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Namibia was forced to introduce strict measures to contain the spread of the virus, which have had a huge social and economic impact. The economy temporarily collapsed, tourism – a key industry for Namibia – was largely suspended, and the number of people living in poverty rose dramatically. There has since been a recovery, but it will probably be several years before things return to their pre-pandemic state.

Namibia launched a country-wide support package to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, protect jobs and keep businesses afloat. Among other things, small and medium-sized enterprises have access to low-interest bridging loans via the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN). Germany is helping to make these loans more attractive and increasing their impact by supplying its own loan to the DBN. The aim is to provide loans to at least 200 companies as part of this support programme.

  • IV. Regional Cooperation

German Development Cooperation has been supporting SADC (Southern African Development Community) for many years with the purpose of realizing the benefits of regional integration for the people in the SADC region, a community of 15 states in southern Africa. Focal areas of SADC-German cooperation:

· Regional Economic Integration

· Transboundary Water Management

· Transboundary Use and Protection of Natural Resources and Resilience to Climate Change

· Peace, Security and Good Governance SADC Organizational Capacity Building

  • V. Global, sector and regional projects

In addition to bilateral development cooperation, there are several global, sector and regional projects funded from BMZ and other German ministries (such as BMWK, BMUV, BMBF), which are supporting the three core areas. Projects focus inter alia on Bio-Innovation Africa; Partnerships against Wildlife Crime; conservation and sustainable Use of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem; Bioethanol Production; Strengthening Advisory Capacities for Land Management; Agri-Trade Policy Development, Power to X Hub Namibia; Energy Partnership Namibia; GetTransform; Green Hydrogen Business Alliance; Green Hydrogen Pilot Projects; MakeIT in Africa.

Additional content

Das Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ) wird von Bundesminister Dr. Gerd Müller geleitet.

Federal Ministry for Cooperation and Development

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