By Mbatjiua Ngavirue WINDHOEK Namibia will continue to receive European support as long as it continues to use its own – and foreign – resources well, says outgoing European Union Ambassador to Namibia, Antonius Brueser. He was speaking when delivering a public lecture titled “Europe: A reliable Partner in Namibia?” on the eve of his departure to take up a new post at EU headquarters in Brussels. According to Brueser, Namibia receives one of the highest levels of development assistance per capita even though it is not officially classified as a least-developed country. “I personally fully agree with such an approach as long as the Namibian government clearly determines its priorities in different sectors while respecting human values,” he said. Europe is, furthermore, interested in a quick but sustainable development of Namibia, which could become a development pole with spill-over effects on other neighbouring countries. To date Namibia has received more than 200 million Euros in grants alone channelled through the European Commission. He said that if amounts allocated directly be EU member states as well as loans through the European Investment Bank are added, Europe’s support easily totals more than 600 million Euros. This is equivalent to about N$5.5 billion. “Although rumours have it that Europe is losing interest in Namibia, I am in the happy position to tell you just the contrary, and I am able to underpin this by the fact of increased funds allocated to the country, not only by some member states, but especially the European Commission,” he stated. A concrete example is the 65% increase in the programmable funds announced under the 10th European Development Fund covering the period 2008 to 2013. In the context of Africa, he mentioned the European Strategy for Africa launched by the EU last year with the aim of providing a common, comprehensive and coherent framework for all EU member states. The strategy will in addition allow the EU to support Africa’s efforts to reach the UN Millennium Development Goals. “A further clear mark of the renewed commitment is not only the doubling of funds within the next decade towards increased and quicker development of African countries, but also the unconditional support to the African Union,” he noted. Regionally, the EU has given substantial logistical and financial assistance to support the decision by SACU members to establish the headquarters of the organization in Namibia. An agreement between the EU and SACU was signed some months ago to further strengthen the capacities of the SACU Secretariat. The European Commission immediately stepped in when SADC was created to support the union of member states fighting apartheid. “I am proud to say that the European Commission was always, and up to today still is, the most important supporter of SADC in financial terms,” Brueser remarked. Brueser, who has just completed a four-year stint as head of the European Union Delegation in Namibia, is a German national who has worked for the European Commission in various capacities since 1978.
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