German government wants to increase political dialogue with Nam

WINDHOEK: The German government would like to increase its political dialogue with Namibia, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany Onno Huckmann said on Tuesday.

He was speaking during a media breakfast at the German Embassy to give an overview of the new German Federal Government’s Policy Guidelines for Africa.

The German Cabinet decided on 21 May this year on these new policy guidelines for Africa, which summarize the context, principles and focus of Germany’s Africa policy.

They are effective as from today, Huckmann said.

“The relations between Namibia and Germany are excellent, with Germany determined to further strengthen the special partnership between the two countries. Key for us is to increase our political dialogue, which is of great importance to Germany,” he noted.

According to the diplomat, Germany is and remains a reliable partner of Namibia.

This is shown by the amount of support given to Namibia. In per capita terms, Namibia is thus the largest recipient of German development co-operation in Africa.

In addition, the German government has availed a total of Euros 31 million (about N.dollars 450 million) for the German-Namibian Special Initiative since 2004.

This initiative, due to run until 2014, is earmarked for community development measures in areas inhabited by those ethnic groups which endured particular suffering under German colonial rule.

However, with the good exchange rates, the diplomat said the initiative could run until 2015.

The Namibian government is also in the driver’s seat to distribute these funds.

Responding to questions from the media whether the initiative had served its purpose, Huckmann concurred.

He noted that last year, he visited several communities in Otjimbingwe (Erongo Region) and Gibeon (Hardap Region), where goats were distributed to communities and boreholes drilled on resettlement farms.

“The money did filter through, and made an impact on the lives of these communities. I have talked to these people, and they are pleased with what they have received,” he boasted.

Huckmann, nonetheless, bemoaned the gruesome colonial war which took place between 1904 and 1907 in Namibia, adding that the German government had on numerous occasions asked Namibians for forgiveness.

Germany supports Namibia mainly in the areas of natural resources’ management, sustainable economic development, HIV/AIDS and transport.

These new guidelines also show the German government recognising the rapid changes taking place in Africa, and the continent’s new position in the world.

There are many different positive developments across the continent, but challenges remain as well, the guidelines stated.

Likewise, African expectations of Germany have grown. At the same time, Africa’s relevance and its ties with the international community are increasing.

Priorities for engagement in Africa included the further strengthening of regional integration; reducing fragility, defusing conflicts and violence as well as human rights violations; combating poverty and hunger, and securing food; promoting the rule of law and good governance; as well as supporting economic growth, trade and investment.

“Africa is the continent of the future. We are not talking about, but we talk with Africa,” Huckmann stressed.