The European Union has pledged a grant of N$172 million to the Namibian government to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. The grant is part of additional budget support without conditions linked to disbursement.
EU Ambassador to Namibia Sinikka Antila said such funding would be availed to the Namibian government to, among others, strengthen the country’s health system and enhance resilient and responsive health and social protection systems.
This amount forms part of the EU’s announcement as support measures that would be extended to Namibia to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
The grant will also include the purchasing of medical equipment and medical devices that are urgently required, as well as addressing some of the economic and social impacts of the pandemic.
The European Union and the Namibian government consulted on available EU support to Namibia – to assist the country in its fight against the pandemic.
Furthermore, and as part of an ongoing programme in support of education, with UNICEF as the implementing partner, contingency reserves of N$7.2 million would be used to support children and their families, specifically those in communities that are hardest hit by the Covid-19 lockdown.
The aim is to reach approximately 350 Early Childhood Centres (ECDs) with an estimated 15 000 children registered.
Antila noted the Covid-19 crisis has brought about new threats, demands and challenges to educators and learners. Moreover, education systems and models need to gradually transform to move to online learning strategies. Therefore, she said, education is a focal area of EU support to Namibia.
The EU has made a third and final payment of N$95 million grant to the education budget support programme recently. She said this assistance is not directly related to the pandemic; however, these are difficult times and government may utilise these resources to deal with the effects of the pandemic.
“The coronavirus pandemic requires united and strong international and local collaboration by all. The European Union is doing everything we can to support our citizens and our partner countries in their time of need to address the impact of this health crisis on lives and countries’ economy. We are working closely with EU member states, other development partners and the UN system to make sure our inputs are well coordinated for the pandemic and for the SDGs more generally,” said Antila.
On behalf of the government, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah hailed the long-standing cooperation with the EU, which has continued to complement the government’s developmental efforts.