Angola–Namibia relations

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Angolan–Namibian relations
Map indicating locations of Angola and Namibia



Angolan–Namibian relations relate to the relations between the governments of the Republic of Angola and the Republic of Namibia.


Pre-independence era in Namibia[edit]

Long before Namibian independence, the country's ruling party, the South West African People's Organisation (SWAPO), had a unique relationship with Angola. SWAPO and its militant wing, the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) had emerged during the 1960s in response to South Africa's continued occupation of Namibia, which the United Nations had denounced as illegal.[1] Beginning in 1965, PLAN frequently used Angolan territory to mount raids on South African military positions in Namibia.[2] Over the course of the war, the fighting in Namibia would eventually drive at least 43,000 Namibian refugees into exile in Angola, many of whom joined PLAN.[3]

Following Angolan independence in 1975, SWAPO established a formal alliance with Angola's new ruling party, the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA).[4] After being expelled from Zambia between 1976 and 1979, PLAN was permitted by the MPLA to establish its regional headquarters inside Angola.[5][6] Access to bases inside Angola provided PLAN with opportunities to train its forces in secure sanctuaries and infiltrate insurgents and supplies across Namibia's northern border.[5] The MPLA government also permitted shipments of arms and ammunition destined for PLAN to pass through Angolan ports.[7][8] South African troops frequently launched search and destroy operations along PLAN's external infiltration routes in Angola; they also sabotaged Angolan port and rail infrastructure being used to transport supplies to PLAN.[7][9] This resulted in an effective state of war between South Africa and Angola which lasted until both nations, along with Cuba, signed the Tripartite Accord in 1989.[10]

Under the terms of the Tripartite Accord, South Africa agreed to grant Namibia independence in exchange for a Cuban military withdrawal from Angola and an Angolan commitment to cease all aid to PLAN.[11] Angola later cooperated with the United Nations in confining PLAN insurgents to their bases until they could be disarmed, demobilised, and returned home to participate in Namibia's first free and fair elections.[12][3]

Post-independence era in Namibia[edit]

Following independence, Namibian-Angolan relations continued to be governed by security matters. In 1999, Namibia signed a mutual defence pact with Angola.[13] Between 1999 and 2001, Namibia cooperated with the MPLA government by detaining suspected sympathisers of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA).[14] Namibian troops were also deployed to Angola to assist in counter-insurgency operations against UNITA insurgents near the border.[15] Namibia and Angola were both instrumental in an allied military intervention with Zimbabwe during the Second Congo War.[16]

In 2001, there were about 30,000 Angolan refugees residing in Namibia.[17] Many of them resided in the Osire refugee camp near Otjiwarongo. The overwhelming majority of the refugees were repatriated to Angola after the end of the Angolan Civil War in 2002.[17]

Namibians are currently the only nationality who can access Angola visa-free.

Economic Relations[edit]

In 2016, Namibian exports to Angola amounted to US$99.6 million and Angolan exports to Namibia amounted to US$6.2 million.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Müller, Johann Alexander (2012). The Inevitable Pipeline Into Exile. Botswana's Role in the Namibian Liberation Struggle. Basel, Switzerland: Basler Afrika Bibliographien Namibia Resource Center and Southern Africa Library. pp. 36–41. ISBN 978-3905758290.
  2. ^ Cann, John (2015). Flight Plan Africa: Portuguese Airpower in Counterinsurgency, 1961–1974. Solihull: Helion & Company. pp. 362–363. ISBN 978-1909982062.
  3. ^ a b Colletta, Nat; Kostner, Markus; Wiederhofer, Indo (1996). Case Studies of War-To-Peace Transition: The Demobilization and Reintegration of Ex-Combatants in Ethiopia, Namibia, and Uganda. Washington DC: World Bank. pp. 127–142. ISBN 978-0821336748.
  4. ^ Dreyer, Ronald (1994). Namibia and Southern Africa: Regional Dynamics of Decolonization, 1945-90. London: Kegan Paul International. pp. 73–87, 100–116. ISBN 978-0710304711.
  5. ^ a b Dale, Richard (2014). The Namibian War of Independence, 1966-1989: Diplomatic, Economic and Military Campaigns. Jefferson: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers. pp. 74–77, 93–95. ISBN 978-0786496594.
  6. ^ Nujoma, Samuel (2001). Where others wavered. London: Panaf Books. pp. 228–242. ISBN 978-0901787583.
  7. ^ a b Steyn, Douw; Söderlund, Arné (2015). Iron Fist From The Sea: South Africa's Seaborne Raiders 1978-1988. Solihull: Helion & Company, Publishers. pp. 203–205, 304–305. ISBN 978-1909982284.
  8. ^ "SWAPO's Army: Organization, Tactics, and Prospects" (PDF). Langley: Central Intelligence Agency. October 1984. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 March 2017. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  9. ^ Scholtz, Leopold (2013). The SADF in the Border War 1966–1989. Cape Town: Tafelberg. pp. 32–36. ISBN 978-0-624-05410-8.
  10. ^ Sechaba, Tsepo; Ellis, Stephen (1992). Comrades Against Apartheid: The ANC & the South African Communist Party in Exile. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. pp. 184–187. ISBN 978-0253210623.
  11. ^ James III, W. Martin (2011) [1992]. A Political History of the Civil War in Angola: 1974-1990. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers. pp. 207–214, 239–245. ISBN 978-1-4128-1506-2.
  12. ^ Sitkowski, Andrzej (2006). UN peacekeeping: myth and reality. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 80–86. ISBN 978-0-275-99214-9.
  13. ^ William, Vincent. "Namibia: Situation Report" (PDF). United Nations High Commission on Refugees. Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 August 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-26.
  14. ^ Cape Argus/, Namibian army faces abduction, torture claims, 2001
  15. ^ "IRIN SA Weekly Roundup Covering the Period 4–10 August 2001".
  16. ^ "Scramble for the Congo - Anatomy of an Ugly War" (PDF). ICG Africa. 2000-12-20. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2013-06-18.
  17. ^ a b "2004 UNHCR Statistical Yearbook - Namibia" (PDF). United Nations High Commission on Refugees. Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 August 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-26.
  18. ^