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Uaandja: Namibia continues to export jobs

2022-11-01  Maihapa Ndjavera

Uaandja: Namibia continues to export jobs

Namibia Investment and Promotion Development Board (NIPDB) CEO Nangula Uaandja has reiterated that Namibia continues to export much-needed jobs to other countries. 

Uaandja was speaking during the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) trade forum that took place yesterday.  

“We export mainly natural resources to the European Union (EU) – that’s the part that carries bad news, and we import back value-added natural resources from the EU. We are exporting jobs of our children as we export raw natural resources to advanced markets where they go create jobs in those countries,” noted Uaandja.

The CEO noted Namibia should prioritise finding ways in partnerships how to start adding value locally and see how to create employment opportunities for its people. 

The purpose of the EPA trade forum is to sensitise Namibian organisations and companies on export and import opportunities under the EPA between Namibia and the EU. 

The forum also provided a platform to exchange success stories and challenges experienced in the trade between Namibia and the EU, as well as how to find solutions and identify ways to increase trade flows. 

The EPA was initially signed in 2016 between the EU and six SADC countries, including Namibia, to provide the best possible access to the EU market. 

The agreement provisionally came into force in October 2016 and was fully implemented in February 2018 upon ratification. 

It gives duty and quota-free access to the EU market, meaning zero tariffs and unlimited quantities for all products except arms.

Ambassador of the EU Delegation to Namibia Sinikka Antila stated that between 2011 and 2021, Namibian exports in goods to Europe grew by 50% to €1.36 billion (N$28.7 billion), while its imports increased by only 8.9% to €11 billion (N$23.2), meaning Namibia’s trade balance with the EU is positive and increasing.

“If we look at the trade between the EU and Namibia, the three most important Namibian exports to the EU in 2021 were hake, copper and diamonds, followed by uranium, cobalt, other fish, fresh grapes, charcoal and zinc. The most important imports from the EU were ores, machinery, fuels and oils,” added Antila.

The ambassador further noted Namibia’s exports to the EU have shown a positive growth rate from 2017 to 2021 but said the EU would like to see more diversification of Namibian exports and a further expansion of mutual trade.

Launching the EPA implementation plan for Namibia, trade minister Lucia Iipumbu noted there are numerous trade barriers, such as sanitary and phytosanitary, technical barriers to trade, stringent rules of origin, more specifically on cumulation among SADC-EPA States and other non-tariff barriers that limit regional integration. 

“This forum must, therefore, play a crucial role in providing information to the business community on potential bottlenecks that the private sector experiences in utilising the EPA. The trade forum must also endeavour to identify opportunities that would increase the export of goods produced in Namibia to the EU and increase overall trade between Namibia and the EU,” Iipumbu noted.

The minister further appealed to local businesses to ensure the quality and high standards of their products to be competitive – not only locally but regionally and globally, as this is paramount for business survival.

2022-11-01  Maihapa Ndjavera

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