Germany signs aid agreement with Namibia

6th November 2007, Comments 0 comments

6 November 2007, Berlin (dpa) - German and Namibian officials signed a memorandum of understanding on aid projects in Bonn Tuesday as part of a reconciliation initiative between Germany and its former colony.

6 November 2007

Berlin (dpa) - German and Namibian officials signed a memorandum of understanding on aid projects in Bonn Tuesday as part of a reconciliation initiative between Germany and its former colony.

The head of the Namibian planning commission, Helmut K Angula, and the German secretary of state in the Development Ministry, Karin Kortmann, signed an agreement on community-driven development projects in specific regions of the south-west African country.

"With this initiative, the German government underlines its particular historical and moral responsibility towards Namibia," Kortmann said, alluding to the devastating repression of a rebellion in German South West Africa in 1904.

The initiative aims to help the people who suffered most under the German colonial forces, the Herero, the Nama, the Damara and the San, also known as the Bushmen.

The German government is to make available some 20 million euros (30 million dollars) over the next five years.

Germany is the largest single donor to Namibia, where there are still German-speaking descendants of the colonisers, although German rule was ended during World War I.

German Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul launched the reconciliation initiative after a visit to Namibia in 2004 to mark the 100th anniversary of the repression of the uprising.

In a speech at Okakarara near the Waterberg in the centre of the country, Wieczorek-Zeul accepted Germany's moral responsibility but repeated the official German position that formal reparations would not be paid.

On Tuesday, she said the initiative could now go ahead following agreement with the Namibian government.

"The people of Namibia deserve our support," Wieczorek-Zeul said.

At the beginning of last month, descendants of Lothar von Trotha, the German officer held responsible for the brutal repression of the uprising, visited Namibia to express regret.

Tens of thousands of people were driven into the desert, and many died as a result.

DPA

Subject: German news

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