Namibia and Germany have signed an agreement that will see continued military cooperation over the next three years, including the provision of training and equipment that can be used for peacekeeping operations.
Namibian defence minister Nahas Angula and German ambassador to Namibia Onno Huckmann signed the sixth such defence cooperation agreement on August 7. The budget under the new agreement amounts to some N$40 million – N$200 million has been budgeted since Germany and Namibia began cooperating in the field of defence in 1992, according to the German Embassy in Windhoek.
The German Federal Government’s Equipment Aid Programme for foreign armed forces has been in existence for more than four decades. Responsible for the implementation of this programme are groups of seconded technical advisors of the Bundeswehr. Namibia’s fifth tranche of 4 million euros ended in December last year.
Huckmann said the latest agreement was “outstanding evidence of the close and fruitful cooperation between the armed forces of our two sister nations”. He added that Germany military assistance to the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) has been very successful.
The Equipment Aid Programme will focus on establishing a Camp Operation Logistic Unit, which Namibia will use when contributing troops to African Union and United Nations-led peacekeeping missions. The German Embassy added that medical and maintenance facilities will be constructed in order to strengthen these areas of the Namibian Defence Force.
The Namibian government finances 50% of these projects, which have included the delivery of a mobile field hospital, a vehicle mechanic training centre and other initiatives. Equipment Aid shipments from Germany have included more than 25 tons of medical equipment, 20 all-terrain ambulances, trucks, spare parts and equipment.
In addition, the German Advisory Group has trained Namibian Defence Force vehicle mechanics and storekeepers and a central workshop and training centre have been constructed. A driving school was established between 2002 and 2006 and trains all NDF drivers. In February 2012 the school was moved to the Osona base near Okahandja and was handed over on August 31.
Another joint project saw the supply and installation of an old ammunition disposal facility, which was also offered to peacekeeping missions of neighbouring countries. Ammunition disposal started in December 2002 and until its handover in 2006 was operated jointly by the NDF and German Advisory Group.
One of the largest projects between Namibia and Germany was the delivery of a mobile field hospital, which the NDF will use to deliver operational and emergency health care services during military operations and provide emergency civilian health care services for relief agencies in the event of natural disasters.
The mobile field hospital was handed over at Luiperds Vallei on February 26 this year. It can treat up to 40 outpatients per day and has an admission capacity of 20 patients at a time. Furthermore, dental treatment of up to 20 patients and four operations are possible.
Detailed logistics enables the mobile field hospital to bring all the necessary equipment with its own transport to the area it is deployed. Water purifiers, water tanks, kitchens, generators, toilet and shower containers as well as sewage and refuse disposals are part of the self-contained operation of the hospital.
The hospital can be deployed in all types of terrain as it is mounted on a 4-wheel drive overlander vehicle. It has two intensive care units, laboratories, an X-ray unit and a mobile oxygen concentrator which allows it to produce its own oxygen.
It enables the Namibian Armed Forces to support peace keeping missions of up to 1 000 soldiers within the framework of UN, AU or SADC missions.