EU Relations with Namibia

Political Framework

The Partnership between the European Union and Namibia is based on the ACP-EU Cotonou Partnership Agreement. In a framework of respect for universal human rights, this landmark pact reaffirms the EU’s willingness to make a significant contribution to sustainable development and the gradual (regional and global) integration of African Caribbean and Pacific countries into the world economy. Namibia has made good progress and has reached the status of ‘Upper Middle Income country’.

The Cotonou Agreement defines the bilateral framework for the political dialogue between Namibia and the EU. Other conventions and political commitments include the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness of 2 March 2005 and its subsequent instruments, the EU-Africa Strategic Partnership, the Country Strategy Paper (CSP) and the National Indicative Programme (NIP) for the period 2008-2013.

The new NIP – of the 11th EDF – for the period 2014-2020, was approved in 2014 and is in line with the national development strategy and key policy documents. Additional dialogue and cooperation between Namibia and the EU takes place within the African Union (AU) and Southern African Development Community (SADC). Very good political relations between Namibia and the EU form the basis of the dialogue. A few EU Member States are represented bilaterally at Embassy level and work with the EU Delegation.

Bilateral Cooperation

The future NIP, under the 11th EDF and covering the period period 2014-2020, is fully aligned with Namibia's 4th National Development Plan. The EU has engaged in Joint Programming with the EU Member States present in Namibia. Focal sectors will be education and the support to the rural economy.

The EU has been engaged with Namibia's education sector since independence. During the new programming period, the EU would like to continue its budgetary support for the sector with a focus on pre-primary education and early childhood development, as well as the new field of vocational training. The integration of the rural economy into the wider economy is crucial for stronger growth and the reduction of poverty. Specific allocations for capacity building and support to civil society are outlined in the EU’s/Member States’ Joint Programming document.

Other areas of cooperation

In addition to the EDF bilateral envelope, Namibia is eligible to benefit from other EU programmes, such as that for Non-State Actors and the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), which focuses on the rights of vulnerable groups.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is active in financing infrastructure projects, and a few EIB initiatives are being examined for the period 2014-2020.

Regional cooperation

The EU continues to be active in supporting regional integration and cooperation. Namibia is a member of the SADC. Under the 11th EDF, SADC will come under the Regional Indicative Programme (RIP). Assistance will focus on three sectors: i) peace, security and regional stability; ii) regional economic integration; and iii) regional natural resources management. There will an allocation for regional infrastructure (preferably to finance joint projects), as well as for other activities affecting more than one region, such as migration, wildlife, river and aquifer management.

Economic and trade relations

Namibia has actively pursued EPA negotiations within the context of SADC. After 10 years of negotiations, the EU/SADC Economic Partnership Agreement was finalised and initialled in early August 2014. The opportunities that this agreement represents will benefit the wider region Southern Africa Region.