Namibia. In July, the government announced that oil fields estimated to contain a total of eleven billion barrels of crude oil had been found off the Namibian coast. Production was expected to start within four years and could make Namibia an equal oil producer as neighboring Angola.
In April, South Africa-based company Gecko announced plans to build three factories to produce sulfuric acid, sodium carbonate and phosphoric acid. The factories would be gathered in an industrial park near Swakopmund. There, a new port would also be built for transport to and from the Namibian uranium industry. In total, this would amount to an investment of US $ 1.8 billion and during the construction period provide over 11,000 jobs.
Not unexpectedly, the message was met with great concern by the population, which forced the company to promise that the project will not be lost if it can be proven that people or the environment can be harmed.
Strong feelings were also aroused when Germany returned 20 skulls used for race biology studies more than a century ago. According to Countryaah official site, the skulls had belonged to people from the Herero and Nama people who died of starvation in concentration camps in the then German colony. The government described the return as a symbolic way to end a tragic chapter in the country’s history, but many demanded damages. However, the German state has consistently refused to pay with reference to many years of extensive assistance to Namibia.
1988 Strategic defeat for South Africa
From 87, the states involved in the conflict began to show greater interest in ending the fighting. Negotiations were difficult due to the many conflicting interests. Angola’s economy was on the brink of collapse. The civil war had so far cost the country about $ 13 billion. But also for the apartheid regime in Pretoria, the permanent war against Angola and the occupation of Namibia was costly – both financially and diplomatically. In April 88, South Africa was then added a strategic defeat that paved the way for Namibia’s independence and ultimately the collapse of the apartheid regime. South Africa conducted a comprehensive military offensive in Angola aimed at establishing a UNITA government in «liberated territory», but the South African military was beaten by Cuban-Angolan forces at Cuito-Cananale.
After intense negotiations between the United States, South Africa, Angola and Cuba, an agreement was reached in December 88, after which South Africa should withdraw from Namibia and Cuba withdraw its 50,000 soldiers from Angola.
Through 89, many Namibians returned from exile abroad and many political prisoners were released. In September, SWAPO leader Sam Nujoma returned home after 30 years in exile to lead his organization up to the election to be held two months later. SWAPO had not participated in the peace talks and did not feel obliged by the agreements. The movement tried unsuccessfully to allow large guerrilla units to invade the country from Angolan territory, but they were discovered and neutralized by South African forces – with significant casualties. Almost simultaneously, the movement was hit by two other major scandals: the torture of political dissidents by the political leaders in the SWAPO refugee camps and the revelation that the movement had greatly exaggerated the number of refugees in its camps.