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German boost for Namibian land reform

Misanet / The Namibian, 16 July - Namibia's land reform programme received a boost last week when the German government said it would fund part of the process. The ex-colonial power wants to back an orderly managed land reform to avoid a situation similar to the Zimbabwean crisis.

Namibia's Ambassador to Germany, Hanno Rumpf, confirmed yesterday that Germany will pump 23 million euros (around N$ 197 million) into the Namibian economy over the next two years.

The funding will be channelled to road improvement, land reform, rural development, natural resources and economic growth. He said 16 million Euros (N$137 million) will be for financial assistance, while seven million Euros (N$60 million) will go to technical assistance.

In addition, an unused 4,2 million Euros (N$ 36 million) from a previous two-year co-operation agreement was reallocated to Namibia. Mr Rumpf said the negotiations were highly successful and conducted in a positive spirit.

A 14-strong Namibian delegation was led by the country's Permanent Secretary of the National Planning Commission, Samuel /Goagoseb, and included his counterparts from Finance, Lands and Environment.

Mr Rumpf said the money for land will be used by the permanent technical committee appointed by the Namibian Cabinet to come up with an action plan on reform.

Germany also promised to help with training for resettlement and infrastructure development. No money was given for the purchase of farms.

The German assistance was less than the previous co-operation agreement. Two years ago, Germany pledged US$ 21,3 million for land reform, infrastructure development and anti-HIV-AIDS measures.

The assistance package still makes Namibia with its 1,8 million people the largest recipient of German aid per capita in Africa.

Namibia was a German colony until World War I and has a German minority, many of whom are landowners.

Germany backs land reform but is watching the process closely because of the chaos in neighbouring Zimbabwe. Namibia needs around N$ 900 million for land reform over five years.

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