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Growth at Home positions Namibia as regional player

2022-12-06  Staff Reporter

Growth at Home positions Namibia as regional player

Namibia’s Growth at Home strategy, which aims to bolster local manufacturing capacity, is being rolled out in four phases of five years each, stretching to 2030 and beyond. The second phase of this strategy covers the 2021 to 2025 period, and aims to position the country as a regional player. This shift of the strategy has begun yielding notable and positive results. 

Namibia as a regional player is exporting charcoal to notable markets (including specialised charcoal), briquettes and raw fines. As such, this increasingly significant industry is expected to contribute to national objectives of export promotion, market access, value-addition, upgrading and diversification. 

The Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade continues to champion the implementation of the Growth at Home strategy, which is the theme selected to reinforce the importance of accelerating economic growth, reducing income inequality and increasing employment. 

Phase one of the strategy focused on laying a solid foundation in sectors where Namibia already has a comparative advantage (which sectors are agro-processing (wood charcoal), fish processing, steel manufacturing, the automotive industry, chemical, metal fabrication, taxidermy, Swakara wool, cosmetics, jewellery and coloured gemstone industries). 

Among these growth sector strategies, the ministry has embarked upon a promotion drive to create awareness of the charcoal industry to the public. The intention is to promote the charcoal sector’s growth project to contribute to inclusive and sustainable industrial development of the country. 

“We all know this is to be achieved through harvesting raw products to be transformed into semi-processed products, and charcoal is one of the intended product(s) for the plan,” a ministry official explained.  

Namibia’s charcoal industry can be considered a basic industry suitable for industrial upgrading efforts, particularly technologically, to facilitate its transition into an internationally-competitive manufacturing industry. Charcoal production and further processing remains one of the promising agro-processing industries to enhance an in-depth value chain. The creation of charcoal production factories is a growth opportunity, particularly in strategic regions such as Omaheke, Otjozondjupa and Oshikoto, where invader bush is predominant and thus yields high volumes of charcoal. 

The notable number of wood charcoal producers has increased from 350 (2014) to 1082 at the end of 2020, with export volumes of value-added wood charcoal accounting for 118 000 tonnes of charcoal exported from Namibia annually. 

Export markets for wood charcoal include South Africa, Japan, Pakistan and the United States. There have also been sustained efforts to access the Turkish market, with the ministry continuing to diversify the penetration of additional markets, especially in Europe and Asia. 

Thus, given its huge potential to contribute to the overall objectives and targets of the Growth at Home strategy, the promotion of the charcoal industry and its value chain into Namibia’s Agro-processing Sector Growth Strategy is of great importance. 

The ministry seeks to boost its communication and awareness efforts to set the agenda for Namibians to become more proactive in tapping into the niche markets or industries identified under Growth at Home.

2022-12-06  Staff Reporter

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