The European Union remains an important market for Namibian goods and the two entities continue to enjoy excellent relations in the areas of trade, investment, tourism and development cooperation, amongst others.
This is according to Penda Naanda, Executive Director in the international relations ministry who at the recent Europe Day celebrations noted, "The EU market remains an important market for Namibian exports. In 2019, Namibia exported goods valued at over N$19 billion. Export products ranged from agricultural products to fisheries as well as mining commodities."
Naanda added: "The Economic Partnership Agreement concluded between the EU and the SADC EPA States, of which Namibia is a member, allows for duty free, quota free market access from Namibia to the EU with the exception of arms and ammunition.
Similarly, in 2019, European exports to Namibia were valued at over N$7.2 billion, which speaks to the mutually beneficial outcome in trading relations between the EU and Namibia."
Speaking at the same occasion, Sinikka Antila, EU ambassador to Namibia said: "Namibia and the European Union are long-term partners, we believe in the rule-based world order and multilateral approach for resolving global challenges."
Hosted under the banner "Stronger Together", the event celebrated the strong relationship between Namibia and the EU, showcasing EU's involvement through various Namibian projects.
Ambassador Antila continued that the EU-Namibian relations continue to grow from strength to strength. "I can confirm that the
EU has been and will continue to
be one of Namibia's main development partners. In recent years, the cooperation has largely focused on education, agriculture and especially, livestock development as well as trade
support, climate change, biodiversity and conservation. We work with
the Namibian government but also with civil society and grassroots organisations. We coordinate closely and work together with EU member states and with the United Nations... .One example is the cooperation with Germany and the government of Namibia in the area of vocational training, which opens new opportunities for young Namibians seeking training, employment and a good income," she stated.
The annual Europe Day commemorates the Schuman Declaration of 09 May 1950, calling on EU nations of Europe to unify and make war in that continent impossible. It further calls for long-lasting peace, collaboration and collective efforts towards a better future. The vision of partnership has since been extended to other nations, such as Namibia, with the common goal of providing support and sharing best practises that is key for inclusive development and shared prosperity.
Ambassador Antila concluded that the Covid-19 pandemic completely changed everyone's lives. "Covid-19 has changed the way we work, how we live our lives at home and how we interact with our close ones, with the colleagues and with those we do not know," she said. She added, "I commend the Namibian government for your quick and effective containment efforts for the pandemic. I am happy that the European Union could rapidly extend our helping hand with additional budget support and humanitarian aid.
We are stronger together! We can only overcome this pandemic by working closely together." Antila encouraged all Namibians to get their Covid-19 vaccine jabs, as she said, "I hope that many of you have gotten your first Covid-19 vaccines. Vaccines will make our lives easier and I am happy that the EU has, together with the UN, been spearheading the multilateral solution for vaccines, COVAX, and been its key supporter from the beginning."