Ambassador of the European Union (EU) delegation to Namibia Sinikka Antila, yesterday said Namibia’s exports to the EU market has grown by 50%, and at one point reached €36 billion (about N$650 billion) while imports only grew by 8.9%.
“You sell more to the EU than what you buy from the EU which for your economy is so good. We are a key partner for trade with items such as frozen fish, unrefined copper, diamonds, uranium, cobalt and zinc, fresh grapes and charcoal among others,” Antila stated.
She was speaking yesterday during an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) trade forum press briefing. The one-day forum is scheduled to take place on Monday, 31 October 2022, where local businesses will showcase their potential products. Under the EPA, Namibia continues to benefit from duty free and quota free trade. The ambassador noted the EU hopes that through this partnership more diversified items will be on the menu.
The one-day forum is expected to raise awareness about the EPA and opportunities it offers to promote trade between SADC EPA countries such as Namibia. The platform is expected to provide an opportunity for business leaders and entrepreneurs from both markets to learn from each other and to explore areas of cooperation and partnership. It further provides a platform for the private sector to interact with financial institutions, government officials, development partners and trade experts.
The value of exports from Namibia to the EU was about US$1 billion (N$18 billion) in 2021, compared to imports from the EU into Namibia standing at US$600 million (about N$10.8 billion).
The EPA implementation programme is part of the EU, Southern African Development Community (SADC) cooperation signed in 2016. Antila noted the programme was delayed but is now picking up as the EU allocated €6 million (N$108 million) for trade with Namibia. “The EU is supporting Namibia to reform its business and investment environment and to reap the benefits of this SADC EPA agreement aims to directly enhance Namibia’s capacity for access to export markets and to attract investment with the EU,” she explained.
According to her, there are still ample opportunities to diversify and increase trade flows as well as to develop regional value chains and produce more higher value goods.
Namibian companies are encouraged to explore opportunities to the EU and invest in new product development for local and international trade.
The EU Ambassador added: “We are positive about current developments in Namibia, as the country positions itself to become a green hydrogen and logistics hub. This offers enhanced trade and investment opportunities which can boost economic growth, employment creation and it is good for the environment.”
Meanwhile, international news agency Reuters in July 2022 reported on Namibia’s possible hydrogen deal with the EU.
They quoted director general of the National Planning Commission, Obeth Kandjoze, as saying “work was underway for a deal on green hydrogen.”
Hydrogen has long been touted as a less emissions-heavy alternative to fossil fuels.