Namibia gained independence in 1990. The political landscape has since been dominated by the country’s liberation party SWAPO, with Sam Nujoma, former SWAPO leader and first president of the country until 2005, still playing an important role. The last parliamentary and presidential elections were held on 28 November 2014, as a result of which former Prime Minister Hage Geingob acceded to the presidency in March 2015. The human rights situation in Namibia is satisfying. Judicial independence and press freedom are guaranteed.
The bilateral relations between Austria and Namibia are excellent. During his tenure as Secretary-General of the United Nations the Austrian Dr. Kurt Waldheim played an important role in supporting Namibia’s struggle for independence. Namibia is covered by the Austrian Embassy in Pretoria, supported by an Austrian Honorary Consulate General in Windhoek. Ambassador Öppinger-Walchshofer presented her credentials on 31 July, 2013. Apart from its Embassy in Vienna, Namibia is represented in Austria by Honorary Consulates in Klagenfurt, Linz and Salzburg. In 2003 Namibia and Austria signed an investment protection agreement and conducted negotiations on an agreement for police cooperation. A Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation in the area of transport, infrastructure, and technology was signed in Windhoek on 3 October 2011 between the Austrian Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology and the Namibian Ministry of Transport. In June 2015, a training seminar for young diplomats took place in Windhoek, organised by the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. The Namibian Foreign Ministry expressed its wish to strengthen cooperation with the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. From 5 to 8 December, 2016, the Namibian Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, Zephania Kameeta, paid a visit to Vienna, where he met, inter alia, his Austrian counterpart Alois Stöger. About 200 Austrians living in Namibia are registered with the Embassy. However, according to the Embassy’s estimate the actual number of Austrian nationals with permanent residence in Namibia is significantly higher (around 500). In June 2007, Philipp Pöllitzer, Austrian citizen form Salzburg, was appointed Roman-Catholic Bishop of Keetmanshoop.
Appointment of an Austrian Honorary Consul General and a Honorary Vice Consul
On the 21st of April 2016, Mr Reinhard Laggner was appointed Honorary Vice Consul in Windhoek by the then Federal President of the Republic of Austria, Heinz Fischer. Following this appointment, the Honorary Consulate General in Windhoek moved its premises to Am Wasserberg Nr. 13, Klein Windhoek, Windhoek. On 22 June 2016 Mr. Josef Vitus Schubert received his exequatur for the position of Austrian Honorary
The Austrian exports to Namibia amounted to € 6,02 million in 2016 consisting mainly of graders, hydraulic shovels, ceramic products, drinks, and iron and steel products, whereas imports stood at € 6,79million and consisted predominantly of zinc, grapes, and organic compounds.
The Austrian NGO SOS Children's Villages operates three Children's Villages in Namibia (in Windhoek, Tsumeb, and Ondangwa) (more Information under "See also"). Namibia is a partner country of the Austrian Development Cooperation. Even though no bilateral projects have been implemented since 2010, Namibia nevertheless benefits from regional programmes of the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) such as SolTrain (Southern African Solar Thermal Training and Demonstration Initiative) or the Energy and Environment Partnership (EEP). The SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE) in Windhoek, the inception phase of which is financed by the Austrian Development Agency with € 1,8 Mio., has become operational in September 2016. The project is co-financed by UNIDO.
Namibia has been a member of UNESCO since 1978. The National Artists' Association holds an annual festival featuring mainly music and dance performances. The relatively large German-speaking community provides a starting point for literature and music (songs). Through the German Association of Southern Africa (SAGV) the Austrian Embassy is cooperating with the German Institute of the University of Namibia in Windhoek, including through yearly book donations.