Our work in Namibia

Published: 17 June 2009 Updated: 5 September 2014

After a period of successful long-term cooperation, Sweden’s development cooperation with Namibia was phased out in December 2013. This does not mean that the cooperation between the countries will cease entirely, but that it will be financed through ways other than development assistance.

Bilateral cooperation was phased out in 2013

December 2013 was the last month to finance activities and no new country-specific cooperation strategy for Namibia will be developed. From a Swedish point of view, there is a strong desire to continue deepening and broadening the close relations between Sweden and Namibia.

A long history of cooperation

The development cooperation with Namibia was initiated during the 1970’s when Sweden actively supported the liberation movement during apartheid, contributing to Namibia’s independence in 1990. After that, continuous support to Namibia in strengthening its democracy and improving living conditions was given. After the independence, Swedish support has among other things contributed to strengthening institutions such as Namibia’s Central Bank. A national statistical bureau has been set up in Windhoek, replacing the regional statistic data that before has been collected in South Africa.

Support that made a difference

For a long time period Sweden supported the large-scale literacy programme that the Namibian government carried out. The programme has resulted in a literacy rate of 85 per cent. More than 300 schools have also been connected to the internet and computers have been installed through the School Net programme, partly financed by Sweden.

HIV/Aids is a huge problem in Namibia; about 15 per cent of the population is infected with the disease. Sida has contributed to a large-scale programme to stop the disease from spreading among young people. The programme was run by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and consisted of education, youth-oriented health centres and socio-cultural research.

 In most regards, Namibia is a functioning democracy. The country’s constitution guarantees basic freedoms and rights and violations of these are rare. Sweden has provided support for cooperation between the Swedish National Audit Office and the equivalent authority in Namibia to improve openness and clarity in handling the state budget.

Partner Driven Cooperation in focus during the last strategy period

 Sweden's development cooperation with Namibia has during the last strategy period 2009-2013 been focusing on broader cooperation built on co-financed partnerships within areas such as trade and investments, institutional cooperation and the civil society, called partnerdriven cooperation. The work has focused on broadening and extending relations between the two countries. The intention is that these relations will exist without development aid. Partner Driven Cooperation has been implemented in the following areas:

  • areas of mutual interest for both countries
  • areas where established contacts can be used
  • areas where previous efforts have been proved successful

The target was to contribute to poverty alleviation and to enhance a socially and environmentally sustainable economic growth. Prioritized areas for cooperation has been: poverty-focused economic growth; environment and climate ; and democracy, (equality) and human rights. 

Cooperation that show results

In total 45 Partner Driven Cooperation projects have been implemented in Namibia. For example have seventeen representatives from nature conservancies been educated in business administration at the same time as the conservancies have been marketed as tourist destinations. Environmental funds for tourists are under development in order to contribute to, for example, sustainable energy solutions in the conservancies, such as usage of solar panels.

A training course for health care professionals has been carried out, as well as the setting up of a rehabilitation ward for spinal cord injured patients at Windhoek Central Hospital. Partner Driven Cooperation has also enabled radio, television and internet broadcasting of news in the ten languages being spoken in Namibia.

Women have been trained in developing their entrepreneurial skills and a platform has been established for private sector development in southern Africa. Clusters within the mining- and mineral sector have been set up in southern Africa and many actors will continue their cooperation.


Page owner: The Communication Department

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