By Wezi Tjaronda WINDHOEK After two days of negotiations on Namibia German Development Cooperation last week, the German Government last week committed a total amount of N$480 million (60 million Euros). Part of this money, amounting to N$108 million or 13.5 million Euros was already committed in 2005. While the cooperation focuses on the focal areas of transport, natural resources management and rural development including land reform, and the promotion of the economy, the commitment includes N$240 million or 30 million Euros for the expansion of the Walvis Bay harbour. Germany also announced a special contribution of N$24 million or 3 million Euros for the Education and Training Sector Improvement Programme and a further N$41 million (5.12 Euros) for infrastructure investments related to land reform. In a joint statement at the conclusion of the negotiations, the Namibia and German heads of delegations, Director General of the National Planning Commission Helmut Angula and the Head of Division, Regional Development Policy and Southern Africa in the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr Ralf Schroeder said the two teams exchanged information on strategic policy issues including the recently adopted EU Strategy for Africa. It is envisaged that the investment in NamPort will strengthen the growth prospects of the economy. According to Angula, the expansion of the port will relate to either establishing a dry port or further deepening of the harbour. NamPort is gearing itself to become an alternative port for cargo to and from Europe and the Americas to that of Durban, which is congested at the moment. In this regard, some months ago, the Trans Kalahari Express, a multi modal transport system to reduce transportation times was established. The agreement on land reform will go towards small-scale farm developments and other infrastructure including water. Angula said the Permanent Technical Committee on Land Reform has come up with a report in which the implementation of the process is outlined. Among others, the committee recommended the development of small-scale farms, which will be facilitated by the financial support from Germany. Dr Schroeder said the two teams also agreed on the importance of transparency and accountability in the utilization of funds, the results achieved and the reasons for failure. “We welcomed that the government is introducing sector wide approaches in education and transport with unified financing and implementation mechanisms, which allow donors to support national strategies in an efficient way,” said Schroeder. In a related development, the National Planning Commission and the European Union last week signed the first tranche payment of N$24 million as budgetary support for the Rural Roads Sector. This amount is part of the N$400 million (53 million Euros) which the NPC and the EU singed last month for the implementation of the Rural Poverty Reduction Programme, which runs until 2009. The programme aims at contributing to sustainable development through reduction of poverty in rural areas by promoting sustainable rural livelihoods while utilizing the country’s fragile resources sustainably. The programme includes institutional support to the government and selected non-state actors, capacity building for Land Reform, budget support for rural access roads, budget support for rural water supply and decentralized demand driven actions. The first tranche of 3 million Euros was released in November 2005. Angula said within the policy of cost effective use of resources, road investments were based on direct economic benefit. “This results in rural access roads being perceived as a low economic activity. However, as we all know, access into markets, to schools, to health services, to credit facilities and access for tourists are all essential to provide rural areas with development opportunities,” he said. Support such as the one from the EU, said the DG, would allow Namibia to complement its own limited resources and provide opportunities to strengthen the rural roads network and open up remote areas.
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