Namibia is showing promising signs of attracting real private investment. As such, the recent wave of investor interests in the country includes a promising mix of private equity, venture capital, and other asset classes, which could be directed towards infrastructure, commercial real estate and technical development.
These sentiments were expressed by Namibia’s Ambassador to China Elia Kaiyamo yesterday in Beijing when he was speaking at the China International Economics and Technology Administration Forum.
“Of late, private investors have shown increased interest in various economic sectors other than the traditional extractive investments in projects such as Green Hydrogen development,” said Kaiyamo.
The ambassador noted that in terms of bilateral trade in 2019, the total volume between China and Namibia was about US$709 million, with a year-on-year decrease in 2018 of 14.28% from US$800 million.
“Obviously, the pandemic has adversely affected these numbers in 2020 and this year,” said Kaiyamo.
He added Chinese companies have contributed N$250 million in tax revenue to the Namibian government since 2016, while creating up to 11 000 direct and indirect jobs in the country. Notable among China’s recent investments in Namibia is US$4.7 billion invested into the Husab Uranium Mining Project, one of the largest Chinese investments in Africa, as well as the US$27 million invested in Walvis Bay-based BC Stone Products.
Said Kaiyamo: “Another achievement is that Namibia in 2018 became one of the first African countries allowed by the Chinese authorities to export beef to China. With that, the first consignment of prime Namibian beef was delivered to China in 2019”.
He further noted that China, in particular, has been supporting Namibia’s economic and social development and offering development assistance in many projects over the years.
These projects include the construction of national buildings, hospitals, clinics, schools, roads and port infrastructure.
“Namibia also benefits under the Belt and Road Initiative of China where eight areas of cooperation were identified. Namibia will take full advantage of the traditional friendship, consolidate our all-weather friendship, deepen pragmatic cooperation and enrich and expand channels of communication between the two friendly nations, and promote the strategic development of bilateral relations,” Kaiyamo stated.
The ambassador went on to inform Forum participants of Namibia’s abundance of natural resources, consisting of a wide range of mineral deposits, including world-class diamonds and uranium, copper, lead, zinc, gold, semi-precious stones, industrial minerals, salt and fluorspar.
“Our rich fishing grounds are well known across the world in the international fishing industry,” he said.
“Such valuable resources mean mining and fishing are two of our most important economic sectors, together with agriculture, including a thriving red meat industry and tourism. Tourism, indeed, is a rapidly growing sector, and it is fast becoming a major earner of foreign exchange and generator of income for the nation.
Our infrastructure is superior to that found in many places in Africa and other parts of the world. We have an excellent road and rail network, including trans-continental links to the Atlantic seaport of Walvis Bay, which, with its world-class standard of cargo handling and sheltered deep-water harbour, is poised to grow into the most important port on Africa’s west coast and a regional container hub for southern Africa”.
Also, he pointed out that China has assisted Namibia with aid of various forms that have helped to improve people’s living standards.
Many of these projects, he stated, are a result of Namibia’s participation in the FOCAC (Forum on China-Africa Cooperation) over the years as well as commitments made by China towards Namibia.
Kaiyamo continued there are two important and excellent cooperation achievements in Namibia, to which few other African countries can make comparisons. The first project is the space science cooperation.
“In 2018, during his state visit to China, our President Geingob visited the Beijing Aerospace Control Center and interacted with Chinese astronauts. He invited the astronauts to Namibia. In 2019, Yang, China’s first female astronaut in space, and her colleague Dong, arrived in Namibia’s port town of Walvis Bay; the visit was aimed at enhancing communication and cooperation on astronautics between China and Namibia”.
The second project, Kaiyamo explained, is the space tracking station in Swakopmund.
“The tracking station has been in operation since 2000, and it is a symbol of scientific and technological cooperation linking Namibia and China together for the peaceful use of space”, Kaiyamo concluded.