Namibia’s trade deficit with the rest of Africa widened from N$3.8 billion in August 2021 to N$4.4 billion in September 2021. This means Namibia is selling less to the rest of Africa, with most of its trade concentrated on the Southern African Customs Union (SACU).
Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) CEO Charity Mwiya said at the occasion of a validation workshop on Namibia’s National Strategy and Implementation Plan for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) yesterday that the country needs to diversify Africa’s trade and encourage a smart transition from extractive commodities, such as oil and minerals.
“These commodities have traditionally and still do account
for most of Africa’s exports. The composition of the Namibian export basket looks the same every month, mainly comprising minerals such as copper, precious stones (diamonds), non-monetary gold, petroleum oils and fuels as well as ores and concentrates of base metals,” she outlined.
Mwiya said the AfCFTA is expected to enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level through the exploitation of opportunities for scale production, continental market access and a better allocation of resources. However, all those will just remain theories if the parties to this agreement do not find ways to implement it. She further cautioned the agreement’s content not to discriminate, but to cater for everyone.
“Let us domesticate AfCFTA to identify how a vendor and a listed company on the stock exchange can both benefit from this arrangement. AfCFTA also has the potential to provide a healthy competitive environment among the continent’s entrepreneurial landscape, which will consequently foster innovation amongst the continent’s entrepreneurs.”
The objective of the validation workshop was to sensitise stakeholders on the national implementation strategy and action plan, as well as to validate the strategy.
On the same occasion, deputy minister of industrialisation Verna Sinimbo said she believes and anticipates that significant opportunities will emanate from the implementation of the AfCFTA, and that this will lead to the positive transformation of many African countries’ economies. As such, Namibia should prepare to take full advantage of what the free trade area will bring.
“These include larger market access, improved competitiveness, improved production capacities, improved living standards and the possibility of employment creation. With proper planning, we foresee great achievements of a higher level of industrialisation, employment creation and sustained economic growth and development,” she observed.
Sinimbo added that the strategy is expected to identify key value addition and trade opportunities by further identifying where the comparative advantages lie as Namibia seeks to take advantage of value chains that will support and maximise domestic trade potential.
The process of formulating and developing the National Strategy and Action Plan began in late 2020, which action plan will guide and drive Namibia’s implementation for AfCFTA and will also enable the country to take full advantage of market access opportunities on the continent.