New Zealand High Commission Pretoria, South Africa
New Zealand's relations with Namibia and Botswana
The Republic of Botswana
New Zealand's bilateral relationship with Botswana is warm and much contact takes place in multilateral fora - particularly the Commonwealth - where the two countries have enjoyed constructive and friendly engagement. Botswana is one of our closest friends in Africa and a key interlocutor in Africa on Commonwealth matters. It has served as a worthy member on the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG).
As a member of the SADC (Southern Africa Development Community) Botswana's views on regional developments are always of interest. It has also been ranked by Transparency International as the least corrupt country in Africa for each of the past 15 years.
Recently, Botswana has worked actively to strengthen its bilateral ties with New Zealand through its High Commission in Canberra. Botswana has sent a number of delegations to New Zealand to study the public sector reform process. There has also been particular interest from Botswana in sending graduate level students to New Zealand universities.
There are opportunities to grow the bilateral relationship in a range of areas, including agricultural technology (especially dairy development), public service management, vocational education and commercial governance regulation. One opportunity that has borne fruit in recent years has been linkages on company regulation. Botswana recently adopted a slightly modified version of the NZ Companies Act and there is an on-going relationship between the Botswana Company Registrar and the New Zealand Companies Office (NZCO).
New Zealand received support from Botswana following the 2010/11 Christchurch earthquakes. The President of Botswana sent several condolence messages, and the country made a very generous donation of US$50,000 (NZ$63,400) to the Christchurch Earthquake Relief Fund.
Trade between New Zealand and Botswana is minimal, but there is hope that in future years this will improve, especially in agricultural products and services.
There is currently no New Zealand ODA support to Botswana. Botswana’s status as a ‘middle income’ country sees a number of its less developed neighbours prioritised ahead of it for overseas aid. Through the NZHC Pretoria Head of Mission Fund, however, past funding for small community projects has been provided. A design mission of NZ agriculture experts visited Botswana (along with Zambia and Tanzania) in April 2012 to explore development and commercial opportunities for New Zealand in the beef and dairy sectors.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Hon. Phandu Skelemani, visited New Zealand during the Rugby World Cup in 2011, attending both the bronze final and grand final. He had previously visited New Zealand in 2009.
The Republic of Namibia
New Zealand has a limited but very cordial relationship with Namibia, to which it is accredited through our High Commission in Pretoria. New Zealand welcomed Namibian participation in the Rugby World Cup. Although eliminated in pool play, the team acquitted itself honourably and won hearts for its plucky efforts. The Minister of Trade and patron of the Namibian Rugby Union, Hon Hage Geingob, came to New Zealand to attend two of the team’s matches.
New Zealand provided support for many years to the UN programme for the ending of the South African occupation of the country and independence. When the plan was implemented, New Zealand provided both a 32-member police contingent and 12 NZDF engineers to the UN Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG). UNTAG ran from April 1989 until March 1990, when the South African flag was lowered and the Namibian flag was raised and Sam Nujoma was sworn in as President.
New Zealand has played an important role in the development of orange roughy and other deep-water fisheries, both in the Namibian Exclusive Economic Zone and adjacent seas.
Namibia has also been interested in New Zealand as an example of public sector reform, particularly in the areas of transport, telecommunications, and education. New Zealand Post was involved in the reform of the Namibian postal service. The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) has provided scientific and technical advice to Namibia. In 2006 a delegation visited New Zealand to study New Zealand’s accident compensation system. In 2008 a New Zealand company spent five months providing software training nationwide to Telecom Namibia.
There is a small New Zealand diaspora in Namibia, many of whom are involved in philanthropic work. Former Prime Minister Rt Hon Dame Jenny Shipley, with family and friends, has established the Namibian Education Trust, a private trust to support the Himba children in northern Namibia, in which she developed an interest while participating in one of TVNZ's Intrepid Journey programmes.
Trade with Namibia is of very modest levels, with New Zealand exporting less than NZ$3 million in frozen fish each year.
New Zealand aid to Namibia, as has been the case throughout southern and eastern Africa, has focused on education, primary and non-formal training, and rural development. Residents of Namibia are eligible to apply for New Zealand Development Scholarships.
In 2011 the Namibian Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon Hage Geingob, visited New Zealand during the Rugby World Cup, attending two matches, including the final in Auckland. A delegation from the Namibia National Disability Council made a study tour to New Zealand in 2011. There have been no recent official New Zealand visits to Namibia.