Namibia has definitely had a large influence from foreign countries such as China, the US, and Germany.
US: Overall, bilateral trade is not that strong between the two countries. The main interaction between the two countries is the US involvement in Namibia through the USAID organization, which is a development assistance and aid organization. It supports Namibia through economic support, good governance (democratic) support, and social support. One of its big achievements is its high focus on combating HIV/AIDS, which affects 13.1% of the population. Around a quarter of a million patients receive care and support for HIV/AIDS through USAID, thus enabling much more of the working population to work, improving economic growth and increasing the public opinion of the US in Namibia.
Germany: Due to its colonization of Namibia in the late 1800s and early 1900s, post-independence bilateral relationships between the two countries are established on friendship and Germany having a special responsibility for Namibia. Bilateral trade between the two countries is still insignificant compared to its bilateral development assistance programme. It emphasis poverty reduction, good governance and health, similar to that of USAIDS, up to now, since independence in 1990, this organization has provided over N$7 Billion in assistance. Thus,
While the previous two countries mainly interact with Namibia through strong assistance and aid, China takes a different approach, and has a much larger role in Namibia than Germany and the US.
China: China is by far the most important foreign partner of Namibia. China does not just provide Namibia with aid and development assistance, it provides education to students and civil servants, and there are over 1600 Chinese companies in Namibia, furthermore, many construction companies have planted themselves in Namibia, increasing the amount of infrastructure which could fuel economic growth in the long-term. Bilateral trade between Namibia is massive, amounting to N$2.7 billion in 2013, an increase of 33% from just one year ago. A friend of mine in Namibia even said every time he is in the airport in Windhoek, half of the people there are Chinese businessmen. However, it is all too good to be true. The Namibian people have been developing resentment against the Chinese. Chinese construction companies have been hiring migrant workers from China rather than from Namibia, thus losing the opportunity for jobs. Furthermore, hard Chinese work ethic has angered trade unions as Chinese companies were accused of underpaying workers and violating labor rights. In the northern Namibian town of Oshikango, Chinese resentment has been so strong that local practices involve in the regulation of Chinese shops. Now it is almost impossible in Oshikango to set up shop, as it is hard to get a license. Furthermore, Chinese construction companies have become serious competition for Namibian firms, as they are winning more contracts for building, putting the Namibian firms out of business.
China has no doubt been helping the Namibian economy grow over the past decade, however, if Chinese resentment continues to grow in Namibia, Chinese involvement in the country will diminish as less investment would be put into Namibia due to fear and stronger regulations against the Chinese. I believe if the Chinese could set up more ethical work behavior for the Namibians and stop importing migrant workers, Chinese resentment would be mitigated and a strong long-term economic relationship could be created, benefiting both countries massively.
Gregor Dobler. 2008. Chapter 12. “Solidarity, Xenophobia and The Regulation of Chinese Businesses in Namibia.” in China Returns to Africa edited by Chris Alden, Daniel Large, and Ricardo Soares de Oliveira.