Namibia Defense Industry
Namibia has a limited Defense Industry. Except for armoured personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles and defence electronics, the country does not have a conventional weapons manufacturing capability. The country relies heavily on the external market to meet its defence needs.
Research and Development (R&D), is indispensable if the NDF is to reduce its reliance and dependence on external markets. The Defence Industry should cooperate with public research institutions when necessary, in order to combine and marshal the technical know-how required for establishing a military industrial capability in the country. Taking note of the fact that research and development and the establishment of an industrial capability is a costly process that could take many years, the Ministry of Defence shall pursue a policy of trading freely throughout the world, but shall be guided by the country’s foreign policy orientation. Although the Defence Force should not depend on one source of supply for its military equipment requirements, much preference shall be given to Namibia’s proven friends in the international community, whose domestic political environment and change of governments at any given time in the future shall not adversely and markedly affect Namibia’s cordial relations with those states.
Namibia’s need to import conventional weapon systems for its Defence Force shall be consistent with the aims and objectives of Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, which gives every sovereign nation the inherent right of self-defence. The basic principle for the Procurement Policy is that the Ministry of Defence should purchase the best quality equipment, material, etc. available, provided that such equipment or material:
- suits Namibia’s terrain, climate, personnel, storage, accounting and other requirements;
- can be logistically supported, maintained and repaired in Namibia, as far as is practicable;
- can be delivered to, or supplied in Namibia within the required timescale;
- is available at the cost-effective all-inclusive price, and with the most favourable terms of payment.
Goods manufactured within the Republic of Namibia by Namibian owned and staffed companies will be given preference, provided that the above conditions are met.
The Defence Industries the world over have been used by governments to grow the economies and to promote technological advances. In the United States of America they talk about “military industrial complex”. Defence research has been used to enhance that country’s technological edge.
Namibia, as a developing country, can enhance its industrial development through the growth of Defence Industries. For example, the August 26 Textile and Garment Factory can be expanded to produce military uniforms, police uniforms, school uniforms, nurses uniforms and other working uniforms. When adequately funded the Textile and Garment Factory can enter into partnerships with major garment producers and kick-start the textile industry in the country. For backward linkages, farmers can be encouraged to produce cotton. If that could happen, unemployment shall become a history in Namibia.
The August 26 Holding Company has established a number of subsidiaries in sectors such as communication, garments, footwear, construction, machine fabrication, agriculture and logistics. Through the promotion of Defence Industries, the country can move from small and medium industries to military industrial complex. To achieve this goal the nation must make a commitment to financially support the Defence Industries.
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