Cooperation based on grants
Besides the efforts of regional cooperation, Attachés in the areas of security, defence, health and audiovisual (see above), France has provided technical assistance and supported many projects in various sectors since the independence of Namibia.
The scientific and archaeological cooperation was initiated in 1991 with Senut/ Pickford as the first mission in Namibia. The cooperation in these areas has remained fruitful in several sectors: archaeology, geology, basic research, astrophysics, space, and environment, and is focusing on partnerships between French institutions (Centre national de la recherche scientifique - CNRS, Muséum national d’histoire naturelle - MNHN, Institut national de recherches archéologiques préventives - INRAP, universities, Institut polaire français - IPEV, research centres) and Namibian institutions (University of Namibia - UNAM, Namibia University of Science and Technology - NUST, and National Museum) through funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Today, the French cooperation in Namibia supports three paleontological and archaeological missions of significance: the mission of Professors Senut and Pickford in the Sperrgebiet, the Archaeological Mission in Namibia (MANAM) from Muséum national d’histoire naturelle, and the mission Human Origin in Namibia (HON) from the Institut national de recherches archéologiques préventives (INRAP). In the astrophysics sector, the French contribution to the High Energy Stereoscopic System (HESS) project is significant through CNRS and several French universities involvement. Scientific and technological partnerships continue to be explored with the French research organizations based in South Africa (Institut de recherche pour le développement - IRD, Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement - CIRAD and CNRS), and through regional or mobilizing research projects.
Since 1991, France is one of the few bilateral donors that intervene significantly in the cultural sector. This cooperation is based primarily on the Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre (FNCC - see below), which is steering an active policy on supporting the Country’s main cultural institutions, as well as the French and Namibian artists in all artistic and cultural expressions and dimensions. This bi-national structure, under the local law subsidized by the French Government, is at the forefront of the country’s cultural institutions, and is a must for meeting and mixing in Windhoek. FNCC is also, in close and confident collaboration with national institutions, organising events on behalf of the diplomatic representations, and it is chairing the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) cluster.
In the field of heritage, France has supported a training program to develop a Namibian competence in the field of knowledge and preservation of its heritage, which resulted in the tourism development of cultural sites and a partnership with the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle and the National Museum of Namibia.
The linguistic cooperation, initiated also in 1991, remains sustained to date. In 2016, 3,500 students enrolled to learn French at primary, secondary and higher education. In terms of number of students, French has the largest foreign language departments at the University of Namibia, where a French section was established in 1993. Always active, it is now run by one of our compatriots, Aurélie Zannier.
From 1991 to 2012, France has also intervened in the field of governance, crucial to the then new born country, which was Namibia. Our cooperation has contributed to the consolidation of the rule of law (training of journalists, Audiovisual Regulatory Authority, support given to the Office of the Ombudsman, establishment of a Consultative Commission on Human Rights), the upgrading of the Public Service (partnerships with the Namibian Institute of Public Administration and Management - NIPAM), and community development, through the Social Development Fund (€2 million), 50 projects targeting the most vulnerable populations and driven by associations and NGOs.
In the field of environment, France has intervened as from 1997 to 2012 through funding the conservancies’ project (conservancies linking communities and Government) in enriching plant and animal biodiversity, and by providing assistance to the Commission of the Orange River (ORASECOM ) through institutional building, training and the implementation of cross-border projects.
From 1993 to 2008, France was a major donor in the field of rural development, a key sector for the development of the northern part of the country. The Rural Development Project North Namibia (NNRDP) and NOREESP have led to supporting community initiatives and organizations (dissemination, trade, sustainable management, sanitary improvement, food assistance...). In the field of fisheries, France has funded an air monitoring program, has built specialized infrastructure both in Arandis and Möwe Bay, and has funded the Benguela Environment Fisheries Interaction and Training programme (BENEFIT) Project through IRD.
Most recently, the decentralised cooperation is illustrated since 2008 through financing from the Conseil général de La Réunion of the Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre’s French (Foreign language) Teaching Posts (FLE). There are also several partnerships in the fields of education between hospitals and cultural Institutions. Today, three town-twinning projects are being considered between Boulogne-sur-Mer and Lüderitz, Le Havre and Walvis Bay, and Bar-le-Duc and Otjiwarongo.
Updated on 17 August 2016