Despite disruptions to economic activities triggered by Covid-19, the local charcoal industry remains one of the growing industries in the country.
This is evident from trade statistics, which shows that from September 2020 to September 2021, the average export value of charcoal stood at N$81 million.
The largest export value of N$105 million was reflected in May 2021, while the lowest value of N$64 million was recorded in August 2021.
Alex Shimuafeni, statistician general of the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA), recently said charcoal was the commodity of September.
However, most charcoal from Namibia is exported in unpacked as lump charcoal – meaning there remain strong possibilities to add value to the product.
Shimuafeni said the N$73 million export value reflected in September 2021 indicates an increase of 13.2% from the N$64 million recorded in August 2021.
The largest increase of 38.9% was recorded between April and May 2021.
On the other hand, the local industry also experienced setbacks in the exportation of charcoal, with the largest declines of 16.5% and 16% recorded in June 2021 and August 2021, respectively. “The month of July 2021 also recorded a significant decline of 12.5% to N$77 million. South Africa absorbed most of Namibia’s charcoal exports – about 29.3% of the country’s charcoal exports were destined to South Africa. Netherlands, Belgium, United Arab Emirates and Poland absorbed 16.7%, 14.4%, 7.3% and 6.2%, respectively,” he explained in the released Namibia trade statistics. Furthermore, the trade balance, which compares the country’s trade flow with the rest of the world in terms of export earnings and expenditure on imports, recorded a trade deficit to the tune of N$3.1 billion.
This reflects a widening deficit when compared to N$2.9 billion recorded in August 2021 and even wider when compared to a deficit of N$1.6 billion recorded in September 2020.