Located on the western shores of Southern Africa and largely made of deserts, Namibia is one of the less densily populated countries in the world (2.2 M inhabitants, 2.7 inhab/km²). Independent since 1990, it enjoys peace and a stable political situation. Namibia became an upper middle income country in 2009 with an economy based on sound macro-economic conditions with exports based on mining (mostly uranium and diamonds), fisheries, tourism and agricultural products (grapes, beef and mutton meat). Agriculture provides livelihoods for the majority of the population.
However, Namibia's income distribution is among the most unequal in the world. And despite undeniable progress towards the achievement of the MDGs (notably access to water and education enrolment), the country still faces many challenges related to widespread poverty, severe income inequality and high unemployment. Furthermore the HIV/AIDS epidemic and high vulnerability to climate change act as further breaks on the country’s development.
Under the 11th European Development Fund (2014-20), the National Indicative Programme 2014-20 for Namibia an amount of €68 million has been allocated to the country. In line with the Agenda for Change's emphasis on concentration of funding for greater impact, bilateral cooperation between the EU and Namibia in the years 2014-2020 will focus on 2 sectors, namely Education and Skills, and Agriculture. Focus on Education and Skills is due to the relevance of the sector as a critical enabler for Namibia’s transition to a globally competitive country (NDP4). Notwithstanding progress towards universal primary education, the repetition rates are not decreasing. Furthermore, the VET system is facing challenges to equip workers with skills required by the labour market. A key factor of underperformance of the agricultural sector is the weak link of the rural sector to available markets. Support to Agriculture is based on the need of integrating the rural economic actors into the formal market as a priority for economic growth. A sector already identified for support is livestock with the aim of strengthening the livestock value chain.
The first EDF 11 Annual Action Programme in 2015, includes three actions: the Support to Technical and Vocational Training in the focal area of education and skills; the support to the National Authorizing Officer (NAO) and technical cooperation facility. The programme in Support to VET addresses some of the key systemic issues: lack of industry relevant VET programmes in relation to the main economic sectors, poor quality of training programs, inadequate number of training places for school leavers and out of school youth, etc. The NAO/NPC Support Programme addresses the capacity constraints of the National Planning Commission, Moreover, it will support the successful implementation of a National Monitoring and Evaluation system.
The 11th EDF Education Sector Reform Contract (ESRC) also adopted in 2015, will support the improvement of cognitive, linguistic, social and emotional development of children entering primary education by enhancing equitable and inclusive access, efficiency, resource management and quality during early childhood development and pre-primary education.
Finally the main programmes under 2016 AAP include 'Support to the Livestock sector in the Northern Communal Areas of Namibia' and "Enhancing Participatory Democracy in Namibia" (EPDN). The livestock support programme focuses on:
- Improvement of livestock production systems and resilience to climate change.
- Increased access to domestic, regional and international markets.
- Implementation of animal disease management and eradication strategies.
The specific objectives of the programme in support of CSOs are to:
- Enhance Namibian Civil Society's contribution to the implementation of public policies in the sectors of Education and Skills and Rural Development.
- Strengthen Parliament's Standing Committees' oversight function and interaction with Civil Society, including communities.
The Country Strategy Paper for Namibia (2008-2013) presents the strategic framework for the cooperation of the European Commission with Namibia under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF).The total country allocation under the 10th EDF, after Mid Term Review and an increase in the context of the Millennium Development Goals Initiative, amounted to €129.60 million and concentrated on Human Resource Development and Rural Development, the latter with an emphasis on water and sanitation.