The Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) has released the trade statistics for the third quarter 2018 on 13 December 2018. The trade statistics refer to trade in goods only and exclude the trade in services. Namibia usually achieves a surplus in the trade of services.
Herewith a few highlights:
Almost half of Namibia’s exports are re-exports implying that no or very little value has been added. Moreover, the four main export items account for 70% of total exports, which makes Namibia very vulnerable to a drop in demand for one of these goods. The expected decline in demand for diamonds in 2019 underlines this vulnerability. Hence more efforts are required to attract investment into greenfield industries. The recent examples of car manufacturing and asparagus farming illustrate that it is possible. However, in order to succeed serious efforts are needed to improve the competitiveness and the business climate in the country. Furthermore, concerted efforts by both the private and public sectors to identify goods that can be produced and sourced locally are needed to not only reduce the import bill, but also diversify the domestic economy. The current drop in oil prices could bring some relief for the import bill, but promoting an applying new technologies to substitute energy imports with energy sources available in the country will reduce the energy import bill permanently and support domestic economic activities.