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Zimbabwean exporters to set footprint in Namibia

ZimTrade is facilitating the participation of Zimbabwean companies at the Zimbabwe Outward Mission to Namibia, designed to create strong trade linkages between Zimbabwean businesses and buyers in Namibia, with the aim of increasing trade between the two countries.

The Mission, which will be held from 26-28 September will commence with a half-day business forum, which will be followed by business to business engagements.

Company visits and factory tours have also been organised as part of efforts to improve synergies between private sector in the two countries.

The trade mission to Namibia will concretise prospective business leads identified during the market survey conducted by ZimTrade a few years ago.

More than 15 companies will be mobilised from sectors identified during the market survey as having great potential in the Namibia market, such as fast-moving consumer goods, horticulture, leather, clothing, building and construction material, and services.

Companies will be selected according to their ability to supply quality locally manufactured products that can compete on the export market.

A market survey conducted in November 2019, identified opportunities for Zimbabwean exporters and with the renewed energy from local industry to increase presence in export markets, participating in this trade mission would be a positive move for companies looking to grow their visibility in the market.   

Namibia is a market that is warming to Zimbabwean products, thanks to ongoing continuous engagement between the Governments of the two countries.

Currently, trade between Zimbabwe and Namibia trade is largely covered under the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Trade Agreement and the Zimbabwe-Namibia Preferential Trade Agreement, which offer preferential treatment of qualifying products.

Although Zimbabwe and Namibia are both in the same regional block, trade between the two countries has remained relatively low.

Given this trade deficit, the scheduled Outward Seller Mission presents local exporters with an opportunity to increase exports into Namibia, whose economic activities presents options to supply several products and services.

Namibia strategic geo-political location

Namibia is located in the south-west region of Africa, sharing border with Angola and Zambia in the north, South Africa in the south and Botswana in the east.

The country’s coastline covers around 1,570 kilometres (km), offering vast opportunities for fishing, tourism and other downstream economic activities.

Namibia’s population, according to the SADC Secretariat (2018), is slightly more than 2.2 million people and the population growth rate is 2.6 percent.

The Namibia Statistics Agency projects that the country’s population will reach 2.96 million in 2030 and 3.4 million in 2040.

Understanding Namibia’s economy and export opportunities

Namibia dollar (NAD) is the official currency of Namibia trades at par with the South African Rand, which is a legal tender in the country. 

Against this background, Namibian economy remains integrated with the economy of South Africa, as the bulk of Namibia’s imports originate there

As the market is heavily dominated by South African businesses, Zimbabwean companies must strategically position themselves for niche markets if they are to become successful.

The country’s economy, which offers opportunities for Zimbabwe to supply products and services, is built on mining, tourism, fishing, manufacturing and agriculture.

The mining industry consisting mainly of diamond and uranium and the sector employs more than 14 000 people.

Namibia is the fourth largest exporter of non-fuel minerals in Africa and is fifth world’s largest producer of uranium with capacity to supply 10 percent of global output.

Other minerals produced in large quantities include lead, zinc, tin, silver and tungsten.

These offer opportunities to supply capital equipment, electricals consumables, and materials used for processes that include aluminium powder, ammonia, anodes and cathode, caustic soda, coal and cobalt sulphate.

There are also opportunities in Namibia’s mining sector to export services such as engineering, surveying, instrumentation, transport, plant maintenance, environmental management and artisanal services like quantity.

Apart from exporting engineering skills, there are opportunities for Zimbabwean professionals in areas like the medical field, teaching, hospitality and catering, motor mechanics and skilled agriculture workers.

In fact, several Zimbabweans are running their own surgeries and pharmacies in the country with others managing various hotels and lodges.

Another key economy sector for Namibia is the fishing industry, which is concentrated in Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and Luderitz.

Unique opportunities for Zimbabwean exporters are in provision of supplies for the fishery value chain.

With regards to tourism, the sector is a major industry which attracts more than a million visitors from across the world every year.

The country has extensive nature reserves which accounts for 18 percent of total surface area.

The tourism sector offers opportunity in the hospitality sub-sector where supplies and services – including employment – have a high demand given the inflow of tourists.

Although arable land accounts for only one percent, the agricultural sector is one o the largest employers.

The main farming products are beef, mutton and dairy, millet, and maize, and these creates opportunities for exporters to supply farming inputs, equipment and medicines.  

Namibia is classified relatively low on agricultural potential.

Thus, given Zimbabwe’s favourable climatic conditions, this presents opportunities for local enterprises to export fresh produce, which include both fresh vegetables and fruits.

Products such as fine beans, mange tout and sugar snap peas, berries, baby vegetables and chillies have potential to perform well in the Namibian market.

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