EU to scale down ODA in Namibia

An aerial view of Windhoek, Namibia's capital and its largest city. The country will be receiving less aid from the European Union as it is now considered a middle-income nation. Photo by: Terry Feuerborn / CC BY-NC

The European Union, the world’s top donor, recently announced it will spend over €31 billion on official development assistance in 2014-2020.

However, under the budget scheme approved for the next seven years by the 11th European Development Fund for African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, some nations may receive less funds than in the previous budget cycle due to the EU’s special focus on fragile states as part of the bloc’s so-called Agenda for Change.

An EU spokesperson recently admitted to Devex that several current ACP partner countries may get less aid, but refused to specify how many or which ones.

Now we know at least one nation where Brussels will be cutting aid: Namibia.

Angel Carro, Head of Division for Southern Africa at the European External Action Service, said this week during a visit to the country that Namibia will be getting less funds than the €125 million it received under the 11th EDF (2007-2013).

“The reduced funds will not be seen as a punishment, but as a positive sign that Namibia is doing well in its developmental endeavours,” noted Carro.

Middle-income country

Namibia is now classified by the EU as a middle-income country like its mighty neighbour South Africa, where implementing partners are scrambling for funds after the United Kingdom announced in May that it would end all bilateral assistance to the country by 2015.

Carro explained that although Namibia still suffers inequality, poverty and unemployment, other countries need more aid from the European Union.

Brussels funds several projects covering  alleviating poverty, technical assistance for education and agriculture, employment creation and good governance in Namibia. Other assistance includes budget support on energy, health and water as well as private and public loans from the European Investment Bank, according to the EU’s country strategy.

The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief also announced this year that it would cut its funding to Namibia by $10 million to about $80 million for 2014.

Namibian Prime Minister Hage Geingob said that the aid shortfall will be a challenge, but the country will learn to less dependent on foreign assistance even if calling Namibia a high-income country — as some have suggested — is a “wrong calculation”.

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    Carlos Santamaria

    As associate editor for breaking news, Carlos Santamaria supervises Devex's Manila-based news team and the creation of our daily newsletter. Carlos joined Devex after a decade working for international wire services Reuters, AP, Xinhua, EFE and Philippine social news network Rappler in Madrid, Beijing, Manila, New York and Bangkok. During that time, he also covered natural disasters on the ground in Myanmar and Japan.