Germany has officially acknowledged that it committed genocide during its colonial-era occupation of Namibia, and announced a financial support gesture.

German colonisers killed tens of thousands of Herero and Nama people there in early 20th Century massacres.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Friday acknowledged the killings as genocide.

“In light of Germany’s historical and moral responsibility, we will ask Namibia and the descendants of the victims for forgiveness,” he said.

Mr Maas added that Germany would, in a “gesture to recognise the immense suffering inflicted on the victims”, support the country’s development through a programme worth more than €1.1bn (£940m; $1.34bn).

The agreement will reportedly see funding paid over 30 years through spending on infrastructure, healthcare and training programmes benefiting the impacted communities.

“We will now officially refer to these events as what they are from today’s perspective: genocide,” Mr Maas said in Friday’s statement, adding that colonial-era actions should be discussed “without sparing or glossing over”.

A spokesman for the Namibian government told the AFP news agency that Germany’s recognition was “a first step in the right direction”.