The Federal Government's equipment aid programme serves to promote cooperation in partnership with the armed forces of selected countries in Africa. Its aim is to jointly promote and build up the capacities that are essential for peacekeeping in these countries. Furthermore, the partner countries will be enabled to support operations conducted by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN), thus contributing to these organisations' efforts to achieve and maintain peace and stability in the region and on the African continent in the spirit of African Ownership.
Namibia has been a partner in the equipment aid programme since 1992. Since then, programme agreements have been concluded regularly, always over a period of four years. During this time, various projects were implemented on a joint basis. So far, equipment aid programme agreements worth more than 30 million euro (approx. 526 million Namibian dollars) have been concluded with Namibia.
Major projects implemented in the past include the following:
- Construction of an ammunition disposal plant at Walvis Bay Naval Base
- Establishment of a driving school at Osona Military Base
- Construction of a Mobile Field Hospital (MFH) of UN levels I and II at Osona Military Base
- Establishment of a motor vehicle workshop and installation of a sick bay at Oshivelo Army Battle School
- Establishment of an automotive mechanics training workshop at Osona Military Base
- Training of automotive mechanics and warehousemen at Leopard Valley Military Base
Eighth equipment aid programme agreement signed
On 24 February 2021, Germany and Namibia signed the eighth equipment aid programme agreement, thus extending the bilateral cooperation through the 2021-2024 period. The current agreement is funded with 5.3 million euro (approx. 93 million Namibian dollars) and will end in December 2024.
Financed by the Federal Foreign Office, the projects are implemented by the German Armed Forces Technical Advisory Group (GAFTAG) deployed in the country. The GAFTAG is an organic element of the German armed forces and comprises up to seven service personnel.
Under the current programme agreement, the following projects will be implemented:
Project 1: Establishing a mobile command post for the SADC Standby Force
The mobile command post, which is a new project, will enable the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) to exercise command and control over own and other SADC Standby Force units in operations conducted under the auspices of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN).
It is planned to adopt a container-based solution offering an appropriate number of workstations and allowing multi-shift operation. The relevant size of the unit to be controlled is that of a brigade equivalent. The command post will be able to operate on a self-sufficient basis and throughout the African continent. To this end, the NDF will supply transport vehicles and communications equipment as well as a messing facility.
The project also includes the training of the command post personnel. An exercise planned for mid-2023 will offer them an opportunity to practise the skills and know-how acquired.
Project 2: Continued development of the Central Mission Support Element at Osona Military Base
During the 2017-2020 programme agreement period, a Central Mission Support Element (CMSE) was established at Osona Military Base south of Okahandja. The CMSE will allow the NDF to prepare personnel and materiel for international peace missions at SADC, AU and UN level. Beginning in early 2021, the CMSE – also referred to as the NDF's vocational training centre – will deliver certified training in six civilian professions. The three-year training programmes will be completed with a civilian qualification.
The professions covered are:
- Air-conditioning technician
In addition to the vocational training centre, the project comprises several workshops for wheeled vehicles and for a large range of other military equipment. Apart from maintenance and repair activities, the workshops can be used to perform specialised work on hydraulic systems, special welding procedures and also complete recoating jobs.
Integrated into the CMSE is furthermore a medical technology workshop capable of maintaining and repairing the entire spectrum of medical equipment used in the NDF. During the current programme agreement period, the workshop will be expanded into a Centre for Medical Technology Maintenance, pooling the NDF's physical and personnel resources and providing excess capacities to the public health sector.
Owing to the multitude of assets and resources involved, this project will unite all previous projects – save that of the ammunition disposal plant – realised in the context of the equipment aid programme. The CMSE will allow the NDF to conduct operations at SADC, AU and UN level and to provide disaster relief both at home and abroad.
Further information gives the press release (14.12.2020): Germany supports construction of Central Mission Support Element at Osona Military Base
Project 3: Establishing a Central Medical School and providing it with equipment
This project carries on the project begun under the previous programme agreement. The necessity to train non-physician medical specialist personnel for employment at the Mobile Field Hospital and other military medical facilities has become ever more vital over the past years. The NDF therefore decided to establish a Central Medical School at Osona Military Base. GAFTAG was requested to assist in the process.
The training programmes, whose maximum duration is two years, will be based on civilian standards so that the students will earn either a recognised civilian qualification or credits entitling them to pursue this line of training at a civilian institution. The training concept, which is planned to be drafted by the end of 2021, will lay the foundation for the Central Medical School's full operational capability. The final step in this process will be the construction of a classroom building.
In future, the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) and the Ministry of Defence will, based on a memorandum of understanding, closely cooperate in the training of medical specialist personnel.
Project 4: Supporting the School of Military Science of the University of Namibia (UNAM) in the field of academic training
This new project aims at promoting the academic training of military command personnel.
Established in 2014, the School of Military Science, located at the University of Namibia main campus, relies for its curriculum on books and digital media, but does not possess any illustrative material. With this project, GAFTAG will support the acquisition of models in the various fields of study as well as the teaching staff's advanced and further education.
Furthermore, visits of faculty to the German armed forces' two academic training institutions in Hamburg and Munich are planned to be organised to give them an opportunity to compare the two educational systems and to learn about another military organisation's approach to providing its command personnel with an academic qualification.