Namibia, EU to forge greater ties

09 May 2015 11:20am
WINDHOEK, 09 MAY (NAMPA) - Namibia and the European Union (EU) will soon sign a new 'National Indicative Plan for Namibia' document.
The document charts development cooperation for a period of five years (2015-2020).
This was revealed by European Head of the Mission in Namibia, Ambassador Raul Fuentes Milani at a reception marking the European Day celebrations held at the EU Residence in Windhoek on Friday.
“Our focal sectors will be the support to early childhood development and pre-primary education in Namibia, and the rural economy, more particular the livestock value chain in the communal lands,” said Ambassador Milani, adding that the National Indicative Plan will also support civil society.
The National Indicative Programme (Plan) will be fully coordinated with other European donors under the Joint EU Development Strategy for Namibia which was adopted last year.
Ambassador Milani said, “No overlaps. No waste of resources, full alignment along Namibia's development priorities. We want to support Namibia's development as the Namibian government sees it. And we are here to stay.”
He went on to say emerging investment opportunities both in Namibia and Europe, access to new markets and the exchange of skilled labour will make Namibia and EU partnership a more equal one.
“Today, the European Union (EU) and its member States are Namibia's main trade partners, main development partner and a trusted political partner,” he said.
Fuentes further noted that 2015 is a special year for Namibia, citing the country’s 25th independence celebration and peaceful transferring of power from the second President Hifikepunye Pohamba to the current and third President of Namibia, Dr Hage Geingob.
Namibia has been able to live up to its founding principles, such as reconciliation and the protection of human rights, to become a functional democracy which enjoys sustained growth and peaceful relations with its neighbours.
He then congratulated the Namibian Government and ordinary Namibian citizens for such achievements.
“Since the first days after independence, we have worked together in the areas of development cooperation, trade, investment and people-to-people contacts,” he said.
Since 2007, the EU and Namibia, together with other SADC countries, have negotiated an Economic and Partnership Agreement (EPA) to boost trade relations with the EU.
The idea is to change the current situation, based on un-bilateral concessions by the EU, into a bilateral understanding.
He said the Namibian Government and the EU have finalised the negotiations and the cooperation will be made official later this year, opening a new page in economic relations.
The Ambassador praised Namibia, saying that it is an efficient and respected actor. Namibia's credentials in the fight against colonialism and apartheid, together with its attachment to international law principles are a worldwide reference and precious to EU member States, he said.
Government Ministers and Diplomats accredited to Namibia attend the reception.