Namibia and South Africa Forge Business Partnerships

Written by Vernon Cheung

October 5, 2015

Offering a stable economy, modern infrastructure, key transport corridors and a range of investment incentives, Namibia is actively seeking investment and partnerships with South African business.

The Commercial Counsellor at the High Commission of the Republic of Namibia’s Commercial Office, Bonaventura Hinda, notes that South Africa and Namibia have strong trade ties, with South African exports to Namibia topping R51.5-billion last year and its imports from Namibia exceeding R8.4-billion in the same time frame.

However, with a relatively small market of 2.1 million people, Namibia’s biggest appeal for investors lies not in trade, but in its potential to serve as a gateway to Africa and the rest of the world for manufacturers, says Hinda.

Manufacturers setting up facilities in Namibia benefit from investment incentives, state-of-the-art communications infrastructure and a good road network. Importantly, Namibia offers access to two modern ports at Walvis Bay and Lüderitz and to four key transport corridors across the SADC region.

“Foreign manufacturers are already benefiting from Namibia’s access to SADC countries, with some establishing facilities close to the border with Angola for example, so significantly improving transport time and reducing costs associated with the manufacture of goods for the Angolan market. In addition to Windhoek and Walvis Bay, Rundu in the Kavango-East Region, the north-eastern parts of the country and the coastal areas are developing fast,” says Hinda.

Namibia is working to step up power availability, with a particular focus on renewable energies and the potential for more power efficient technologies, to support industrialisation.

Businesses looking to expand or launch in Namibia can quickly and easily register their new entities, with the government availing industrial land and buildings at reasonable rates and the country’s business culture, currency and financial institutions are familiar to South Africans, making launching a business in Namibia relatively easy.

“The biggest draw card for investors is the fact that Namibia is a springboard into the rest of Africa, as well as its political and economic stability,” says Hinda. She notes that all government transitions have been peaceful since independence. In addition, the country’s economic growth rate stands at 5% this year, with an expected 5.5% next year; it has a stable workforce and its crime rate is minimal.

“While manufacturing is a key investment opportunity, there are also significant investment opportunities around the supply of manufacturing equipment and support infrastructure such as power, transport and logistics. There are opportunities for companies offering artisan training and general skills training,” says Hinda.

With the Namibian government currently expanding its own infrastructure and addressing housing shortfalls, South African developers can also seek partnerships with Namibian construction firms to bid for large state building projects. And in the healthcare sector, the government is open to public private partnerships in the supply of medical equipment and pharmaceuticals and in healthcare delivery, presenting more opportunities for South African companies partnering with Namibian firms. Agriculture and agro-goods processing are a significant growth area in Namibia, with numerous opportunities for investment and business development. “For example, Namibia has experienced drought conditions since 2013, there are therefore opportunities for investors who are able to help improve food production along our four perennial rivers.”

Aiming to highlight the broad range of investment and business opportunities in Namibia, a series of Namibia-South Africa Business Seminars have been hosted in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg. The Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development and the Department of Trade and Industry supported the seminars, led by the Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI); representatives from companies, national and local government and municipalities attended the event.

The seminars focused on opportunities in key sectors including manufacturing, logistics, mining and minerals beneficiation, agriculture and agro-processing, construction and leather goods; and aimed to foster stronger trade relationships between stakeholders in these sectors. The NCCI mission will seek to engage South African companies and stakeholders to unlock joint venture possibilities for industrialisation and business, exchange investment and trade opportunities and to explore investment-financing opportunities.

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