Namibia gained its independence on 21 March 1990, inspiring people all over the world with its peaceful transition to a sovereign democratic State. The European Union (EU), at the time still the European Community, welcomed the new country and established governmental relations the day after independence.
Namibia is an important partner for the EU, a reference for good governance and an influential voice in the Southern African Region. Its governments have been successfully reinforcing the foundations of the new nation by gradually putting in place the elements of an inclusive, democratic society with respect for human rights and the rule of law.
Human rights and democracy are guiding principles for the European Union and considered to be of vital importance for initiatives aiming to alleviate poverty and eradicate social, economic or political exclusion. In Namibia the strategic priorities for EU action on promoting human rights and supporting democracy at local level for the period 2016-2020 are: 1. Promotion of Economic, Social and Cultural (ESC) Rights, including the lack of capacity to implement the legal ESC framework in full transparency; 2. Promotion of Women's Rights, including gender based violence (GBV); 3. Promotion of Children's Rights; 4. Promotion of Rights of minorities with special attention to indigenous/marginalised people.
In 2009, the European Union decided to reinforce its capacity to act beyond its frontiers by creating the European External Action Service (EEAS). The EU Delegations are an important element of the EEAS, and assume the representation of the Union beyond its frontiers. As sovereign States, the European Union members retain full capacity to run their bilateral affairs.
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 an ‘Upper Middle Income country’.
Development and trade cooperation are important pillars of the EU-Namibia partnership.
Diplomatic relations are governed by the EU-Namibia Agreement, which was signed in 1991. The Agreement established mutual recognition of the diplomatic status of the Republic of Namibia and of the European Union (then Commission of the European Communities) See full agreement.
The cornerstone of EU-Namibia relations is the Cotonou Agreement, signed in 2000. This Agreement regulates the relations between the EU and the ACP (Africa, Caribbean and Pacific) countries. The Agreement is aimed at the reduction and eventual eradication of poverty, while contributing to sustainable development and to the gradual integration of ACP countries into the world economy. The Cotonou Agreement was revised in 2010 to include a commitment to fight impunity and to promote criminal justice through the International Criminal Court. It is designed to last for a period of 20 years and based upon four main principles: Equality of partners and ownership of development strategies; Participation of non-governmental actors (civil society, private sector, local authorities); Dialogue and mutual obligations (e.g. respect for human rights); Differentiation and regionalisation See full Cotonou Agreement .
In March 2013, EU Heads of Mission, resident in Windhoek agreed to take forward the process of Joint Programming in Namibia. The Joint EU Response Strategy aims at enhancing the effectiveness and impact of European Development Cooperation by providing a single framework to guide all European development partners' support to Namibia. Joint programming increases transparency, predictability and efficiency of our development cooperation, avoids duplication of efforts and helps to convey our core principles and values and uses taxpayers' funds more efficiently. The priority areas identified for support by EU Development Partners are fully aligned to the contents and period of Namibia's 4th National Development Plan (NDP4). Focal areas of the EU Joint Response Strategy for Namibia during the period 2014-2017 include: economic priorities (agriculture and tourism), basic enablers (institutional environment, education and skills and infrastructure), capacity development and support for the specific role of civil society in strengthening democracy. In total, European Development Partners planned to provide some N$ 3.5 Billion in grant funding between now and the end of NDP4. In addition, loans may be offered by European financial institutions, mainly for large infrastructure investments and private sector development. See full Joint EU Response Strategy for Namibia.
The European Development Fund (EDF) is the EU's main instrument for providing development aid to ACP countries. The multi-annual National Indicative Programme (NIP) represents an important step in the programming of EU aid under the EDF. Preparation of the NIP starts by defining the strategy and priorities for EU development assistance. These preparations are done in close collaboration with the partner country (the 4th National Development Plan in the case of Namibia) to ensure that the NIP supports the national priorities of the country and areas where EU assistance adds value. The NIP is subject to regular dialogue between the EU Delegation and Namibia to ensure coordination, progress monitoring and periodic reviews.
The 11th EDF NIP for Namibia was formulated in line with the country's Fourth National Development Plan. The indicative funding allocation for the 11th EDF amounts to Euro 68 Million, over the period 2014 - 2020. It will focus on the following sectors: Education and Skills and Agriculture. Allocations have also been set aside to support Civil Society and other non-focal areas. National Indicative Programme.