Namibia, as an upper-middle income country entered into a new bilateral development cooperation with the Government of Sweden shifting the cooperation from the traditional grant development cooperation, to the one that promotes trade between the two countries.
During the bilateral talks held in Namibia, Windhoek from 16 – 17 June 2015, the two governments expressed the need to create a firm basis for trade cooperation and a Memorandum of Understanding in this regard will soon be signed by the two governments.
Furthermore, the head of the Swedish delegation at the talks indicated that potential future areas of cooperation are in energy, mining, rail and urban transport, as these are the areas where Sweden have the comparative advantage.
Officiating at the ceremony, the Deputy Minister in the Presidency responsible for Economic Planning, Hon. Lucia Iipumbu highlighted that new areas of cooperation should be guided by the fourth National Development Plan and consequently Vision 2030.
For the past years, the Swedish government has committed over 2 Billion Swedish Kronor (SK) (equivalent to N$2.4 billion) for support to Namibia, since 1990.
Sweden phased out the bilateral development cooperation grant, which was under implementation up to 2008. A new cooperation strategy called Actor Driven Cooperation or ‘demand driven support’ was implemented between 2009 and 2013 mainly to promote broader relations such as commercial, institutional collaboration, twinning arrangements and direct Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) cooperation. To facilitate the broadening of relations between Namibia and Sweden, the two Governments established a special Namibia-Sweden Working Group to discuss bilateral and global political and economic issues of common interest as well as trade and development cooperation in order to set priorities and provide necessary guidance and direction in terms of future cooperation.
The following are the areas of cooperation which the Swedish government supported and implemented during the grant development programme under the Actor Driven Cooperation framework:Support to Capacity Building for Public Service Broadcasting in Radio, Cadastral Information System – Technical Assistance to the Directorate of Survey and Mapping – Project Extension, Improvement of Land Administration Procedure and Capacity in Namibia, Facilitator within Environment/Climate for Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, Demonstration Pilot Environment, Sustainability workshop, Capacity Building Programme to Support Local Governance in Namibia, Core Support to Legal Assistance Centre (LAC), Strengthening Children’s Right to Protection in Namibia, Support to Namibian Election Law Reform Strengthening Children’s, Right to Protection in Namibia.
The National Planning Commission has been representing the Namibian Government in this cooperation but since the focus is now on trade promotions the parties agreed that the Namibian Ministry of Industrialisation Trade and SME Development will take over the coordination role.