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The Namibian Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform (MAWLR) and the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT) signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding with Agence Française de Développement (AFD) today in Windhoek, for the implementation of a technical cooperation project on groundwater management with the French Geological Survey (Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières - BRGM).

The project, grant-funded by AFD, for a total amount of € 450,000 (+/- N$ 7,5bn), with a further contribution of € 50,000 (+/- 0,85mn) from the French Geological Survey. It will finance capacity-building and planning activities on water management and drought control. 

The signing ceremony of this tripartite MoU was held with the participation of Mr Percy Misika, Executive Director of the MAWLR, Mr. Teofilus Nghitila, Executive Director of the MEFT, H.E. Sébastien Minot, the Ambassador of France to Namibia, as well as Mr. Jean-Philippe Rançon, Deputy International Director of BRGM and Mr. Bruno Deprince, Regional Director for AFD in Southern Africa.

“This collaboration enters within the framework of the country’s priority activities as it aims to increase access to knowledge and strengthen the capacity of the Namibian Government in water management and drought control considering the fact that Namibia is the driest country in Southern Africa”. Teofilus Nghitila, Executive Director, Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism.

“These regions have continuously experienced severe droughts and as we speak is still experiencing the effects of climate variations leading to lower than average rainfall leading to an eminent drought situation. With support and capacity being developed in these different areas we would aim at combating the drought and have a more proactive approach to securing water resources in the areas where it will be needed the most.” Mr Percy W Misika Executive Director Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform

Namibia has a long history of water scarcity due to the arid climate and high evaporation rates in the country. A lack of readily available water in the country’s interior is also considered as a limiting factor for development. Water management is a constant challenge as many of the country’s perennial rivers are shared with neighbouring countries. The scarcity of surface water has resulted in historical reliance on groundwater. Groundwater is also limited, owing to low recharge rates and periodic ephemeral floods. Climate change amplifies the challenges around water resources, making long-term planning and climate change resilient strategies critical.

“France is strongly committed to supporting Namibia and bringing expertise in this field. As a public financial institution, Agence Française de Développement has a long experience in supporting water projects worldwide. In 2019, it has committed approximately 1.3 billion euros (+/- N$ 21,5bn) to this end, through concessional loans, grants and guarantees”, Mr. Minot, French Ambassador to Namibia, said. 

“Contributing to better groundwater management in response to the challenges of global climate change is a key activity for BRGM”, Mr Rançon, deputy director of BRGM’s International  Division, said. He added that “this new project is a continuation of an initial scoping study funded by the EU in 2018. It was made possible thanks to the main funding of AFD and the strong and continuous support of the French Embassy in Namibia, together with the relationship built with the Executives of the MAWLR and the MEFT”. 

BRGM, in close collaboration with the Ministries teams, will implement:

  • The delivery of a comprehensive hydrogeology training programme 
  • The assessment of climate change impact on aquifer recharge in the Omusati and Kunene regions (these regions are particularly vulnerable to drought and have a sizeable population and agricultural challenges) 
  • The elaboration of a groundwater abstraction planning map in these two regions.

This two-year scientific and technical cooperation is part of the Namibian Partnership Plan, and will contribute to the implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions, submitted under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

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