Walvis Bay Dispute 1990-1994

[ 1990 - 1994 ]

After Namibia's independence in March 1990, South Africa and Namibia established diplomatic ties, but relations between the two countries were uneasy, in part because many of Namibia's senior government officials had been leaders in the guerrilla war to oust South Africa from their country. Namibia nonetheless joined the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and continued to be almost totally dependent on South Africa in trade and investment. In 1992, for example, 90 percent of Namibia's imports came from South Africa, and South Africa purchased 30 percent of Namibia's exports. Relations improved as apartheid was dismantled.

The two countries established a Joint Administrative Authority to manage the port facilities at Walvis Bay, Namibia's only deep-water port, which had remained under South African control after Namibian independence. Under pressure from the ANC, South Africa then agreed to transfer control over the port enclave to Windhoek before the 1994 elections. Namibia finally assumed control over Walvis Bay on March 1, 1994.

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SWAPO gained a major electoral victory in 1994, and Nujoma remained president.

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