Windhoek: Namibian businesses looking into diversifying and carving a niche in a new export market need not look any further than Namibia’s northern neighbour Angola, a fast emerging economic powerhouse in sub-Saharan Africa. Angola is doing so well in absorbing Namibian exports that it is now fast encroaching on South Africa’s percentage share of the country’s total export destination.
The latest Bank of Namibia (BoN) quarterly economic review shows that in the first quarter of 2010, Angola snatched up 10% of Namibia’s total exports, coming in at third place after the United Kingdom with 16% and South Africa’s 31% . Namibia’s historical ties and proximity to South Africa and its economic might in Southern Africa speaks volumes of the high inflow of the rainbow nation’s imports into the country.
The bulk of Namibia’s exports to Angola comprises consumer products such as dairy products, beer, fish and beef, says former Director of International Trade at the Trade and Industry Ministry Wellem Nekwiyu. Mineral commodities such as uranium and diamonds mainly find their way to Europe, but beef and fish have also made inroads into markets such as Spain.
However, much scrutiny should also be given to the 10% share of Namibian imports to Angola as Nekwiyu said the figure might also include products from elsewhere. He said Namibia is sometimes used as transit for goods, especially from South Africa to Angola.
'These products are sometimes just branded as coming from Namibia, there is no proper control,' he said. On the import side, South Africa also leads the pack as 70% of Namibia’s imports originated from there during the first quarter of 2010. The BoN import statistics show that the only other African country Namibia sources goods from is Zambia, capturing a 2% share and painting a gloomy picture on intra- Africa trade.
China is also pumping a lot of its products into Namibia, as it claimed 6% of all goods imported from outside. The country’s total exports during the first quarter of 2010 stood at N$8,9 billion, down by 5% from the N$9,4 billion recorded the previous quarter. This was partly due to decreases in imports of fuel and motor vehicles during the last quarter, the BoN report said.
The value of diamonds exported rose marginally by 1,9% to N$1 billion during the first quarter of 2010 partly due to the depreciation of the local currency against the US dollar during the quarter under review. The United States of America remains the best export destination for Namibian diamonds.