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The Samoa Agreement will have no implications for Namibia's policies or constitution.

This assurance was given by National Planning Commission Director General Obeth Kandjoze, who signed the agreement on behalf of the government.

Namibia signed the Partnership Agreement between the European Union (EU) and its member states and the members of the Organisation of the African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS), which is also known as the "Samoa Agreement," on Monday in Brussels, Belgium.

The Samoa Agreement is the successor agreement to the Cotonou Agreement of 2000, including its subsequent revisions, and will serve as the new legal framework for relations between the EU, its 27 member states, and the 79 countries of the OACPS for the next 20 years.

Initially, Namibia was not ready to sign the Samoa Agreement.

The National Planning Commission's Director General, Obeth Kandjoze, was quick to clarify that Cabinet needed more time to break down the agreement, study the implications, and incorporate input from all ministries, all in the best interest of the country.

"EU informed us by the 22nd of December they were going to shut office and go on holiday, so we were working against the backdrop date literally, so working backwards, December 10th was the final date for officials and technical committees to finalise their work. Because we are still doing work on COP28 during this time, an agreement must be signed."

The Samoa Agreement lays down common principles for developmental partnership cooperation and covers human rights, democracy and governance, peace and security, human and social development, inclusive, sustainable economic growth and development, environmental sustainability and climate change, migration, and mobility.

Through formulated interpretive declarations, Namibia explained its position on certain provisions of the Samoa Agreement, Kandjoze added.

"The declarations also confirmed that Namibia's understanding is that the Samoa Agreement will be interpreted and implemented in line with and subject to the Namibian Constitution, as well as other relevant national laws, regulations, and policies. This thus ensures that Namibia retains her policy space and the signalling of the National Constitution as supreme law, irrespective. This is why we signed."

Kandjoze maintains that the agreement was a give-and-take coupled with risks if Namibia had not signed, considering the over N$300 billion in trade between the EU and Namibia.

Namibia, he added, appreciates the Samoa Agreement because of its holistic approach to development cooperation, which covers a wide array of key critical areas aligned to the SDGs and the Green Transition.

So far, a total of 71 EU and OACPS countries have signed the Samoa Agreement, which will be provisionally applied as of January 1st, 2024, for those countries that signed the agreement.

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Celma Ndhikwa