• December 5th, 2020

BoN’s 21st symposium to focus on free trade

The Bank of Namibia’s much-anticipated 21st Annual Symposium will take place this week Thursday, under the theme: Positioning Namibia to reap the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The Minister of Industrialisation and Trade, Lucia Iipumbu, is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at the event.

Since 1998, the bank has been at the forefront of promoting policy dialogue supportive of sustainable economic development in Namibia, through hosting a half-day symposium annually. The symposium brings together experts, international and local policymakers, academics and relevant stakeholders to engage and make recommendations on various areas pertaining to the Namibian economy.
Overall, the main objectives of the AfCFTA are to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of businesspersons and investments, and thus pave the way for accelerating deeper integration.

Namibia’s limitations are mainly supply-side constraints. The country has a narrow manufacturing base, which calls for further exploitation. Namibia could therefore mitigate these limitations by expanding its economy through an export-driven economic strategy. The 21st Bank of Namibia Annual Symposium will aim to assess the challenges and opportunities offered by the AfCFTA. More specifically, the symposium aims to unpack challenges, namely: limited manufacturing activity, infrastructure constraints as well as tariff and non-tariff barriers that, amongst others, hinder trade between Namibia and the rest of Africa.

The symposium will also analyse low-hanging fruits or benefits that Namibia should exploit to benefit from AfCFTA. This will entail identifying key export products that could potentially benefit from the AfCFTA market and how to leverage the country’s manufacturing sector’s capacity to exploit the larger market. In addition, examining how Namibian companies may become part of the regional and continental value chains would also be part of the discussions.

To stimulate discussions at the symposium, a topic lined-up for discussion is an overview of Namibia’s trade with African economies. This paper will highlight Namibia’s current trade with African countries and how such trade relations could be expanded to other African economies. This topic will be presented by Florette Nakusera, BoN’s Director: Research and Financial Stability Department. 
Furthermore, Dr Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary: United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), is scheduled to talk about how to position Namibia to reap the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area. 
Other speakers lined up include Sven Thieme, Executive Chairperson of the Ohlthaver & List Group of companies and SACU’s Executive Secretary, Paulina Elago.

Staff Reporter
2020-11-03 08:34:01 | 1 months ago

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