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Bilateral Agreements  

The first agreement that refers to transboundary water issues between Angola and Namibia dates back to 1886, when the former colonial powers Portugal and Germany signed the First Border Agreement.

This agreement defines the borders of the overseas Portuguese colony - Angola - and the German possessions (then called South West Africa): “The boundary line which shall separate the Portuguese and German possessions in South West Africa shall follow the course of the Kunene River from its mouth to the cataracts which are formed by that river to the south of Humbe when crossing the range of the Canná Hills” (Governments of Germany and Portugal 1886).

Bilateral agreements on the use of the Kunene were reached even during the colonial period
Source: Illustration photo by AHT GROUP AG 2010
( click to enlarge )

This agreement also defines the mutual use of the water of the Kunene River and gives special emphasis on the importance of the Ruacana Falls.

In 1926, after Germany had lost its African colonies in the First World War, South Africa and Portugal signed a Border Agreement that confirmed the previous delimitations between Angola and Namibia and the mutual use of water resources.

The Agreement on the action plan for the environmentally sound management of the Common Zambezi River System was signed by Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe in 1987. Angola and Namibia (or South Africa, as Namibia only gained independence in 1990) did not participate in the negotiations although both are riparian states of the Zambezi basin.

In 1990, soon after Namibia gained independence from South Africa, Angola and Namibia signed the first Agreement of Co-operation between the two countries and the Angolan-Namibian Border Security Agreement in 1990. One of the first concrete steps following this agreement was the creation of Permanent Joint Technical Commission on the Kunene River (PJTC) that was created in the same year. Six years later, in October 1996, both governments signed the Agreement on the Withdrawal of Water from the Okavango River.




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