Namibia’s Fair-Weather Friends and One All-Weather Friend Notes de l'Ifri, September 2021
The relationship between Namibia and its historical partners has evolved over the last thirty years since Namibian independence. As in many countries, Namibia has been going through transformation, influenced by the process of globalization. This created new sets of geopolitical challenges and opened up new opportunities for Namibia's small and poorly diversified economy which has relied heavily on the mining industry.
Namibia’s economy is now largely dependent on trade of its natural resources and the government has an open-door policy in terms of business. While acknowledging the importance of economic regional cooperation and its special relation with Germany, Namibia has intensified its collaborations with a key player: China. The China-Namibia partnership is based on Namibia’s need for infrastructures and China’s interest for minerals. The balancing act of the Namibian government between new and old business partners shows that the open-door policy brings development opportunities and risks. These include lack of business transparency, greater economic dependence from international trade and over-reliance on the extractive industry.