Egypt has been one of the first countries that established diplomatic relations with Namibia after its independence in 1990. Egypt played a prominent role in supporting the Namibian Liberation Movement (SWAPO) during its struggle against the apartheid regime in South Africa to gain independence. Egypt has supported Namibia in international forums, especially the United Nations, where Egypt has played a pivotal role in this matter, through the United Nations Council on Namibia. Under late President Gamal Abdel Nasser, Egypt provided training to the first Namibian battalion during the country’s struggle against the apartheid regime in South Africa. In addition, Cairo was the seat of the first office of SWAPO in exile.
- Egypt maintains a strong presence in the Namibian markets, particularly in the telecommunications sector. Telecell, affiliated to Orascom Group owned by Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris, bought Cell One for mobile services in USD 88-million deal, and the trademark of the company was changed to Leo. Also, there are USD 60-million investments in one of the irrigation projects in northern Namibia. Moreover, several Egyptian businessmen are working in the import and export sector, and engineering consultancy.
Trade relations between Egypt and Namibia:
The volume of trade between the two countries stands at USD 2.40 million (2017 statistics). Major export items include glass jugs and bottles, lubricants, steel pipes and tubes, furniture and medicine, while major import items include cooper and raw zinc.
- A Memo of Understanding was signed between the two countries in November 2006 on diplomatic training that included the protocol, negotiation skills and international relations.
- Several diplomatic training courses were organized in Namibia on protocol, international relations and cooperation, conference preparation, among others. In addition, Egypt trained 170 Namibian officials on organizing international conferences. This led Namibia to be a hub for hosting African conferences.
- The Egyptian International Agricultural Center offers annual grants for the Namibian side, in the fields of agriculture, animals and fisheries.
- Namibian journalists and media professionals usually participate in the training courses offered by the Union of African Journalists in Cairo.
- Egypt provides many scholarships for the Namibian students to study at the Egyptian universities in the fields of medicine, engineering, geology, among others, in addition to annual scholarships provided by Al-Azhar for the Namibian side.