Trade and industrialisation ministry’s executive director, Shikongo Haihambo, said that for Namibia to take full advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA), it needs to accelerate its industrialisation agenda and diversify its export basket.
Haihambo said this at the occasion of African Export-Import Bank’s (Afreximbank) tentative programme for Namibia business forum in Windhoek on Tuesday.
Afreximbank is a Pan-African multilateral financial institution mandated to finance and promote intra-and extra-African trade.
“This calls for increased productivity, innovation and financial support. Afreximbank is one of the most reliable partners in terms of financial support. Currently, the state parties that are negatively affected by the tariff reduction commitment under the the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) agreement can access the AFCFTA Adjustment Facility,” said Haihambo.
He added that the African export-import bank is also mandated to promote and facilitate African trade, by providing trade-related projects, financing, as well as advisory services to clients.
Haihambo called upon SME’s, captains of industries and exporters to capitalise on the financial products and advisory services offered by the reputable African Bank.
Meanwhile, Afreximbank’s head-client relations, Rene Awambeng, said that Namibia is positioned to be a large regional and international trade hub given its strategic position as a coastal country in Africa, linking several inland countries such as Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Botswana and Zimbabwe with port facilities that lead to the rest of the world.
“This is evidenced by the fact that some of the main goals of the Fifth National Development Plan in 2017 (NDP5,2017-2022) are focused on rapid industrialisation while adhering to the integrated pillars of sustainable development which include Economic Progression that seeks to achieve inclusive, sustainable, and equitable growth for the Namibian society,” said Awambeng.
He added that there are currently 52 participating African member countries under (Afreximbank), with a pipeline of US$ 85 million for transactions under consideration by the Bank of Namibia, distributed across various sectors including mining, energy, health among others.
Awambeng noted that given the economic importance of Namibia on the African continent, and in the Southern Africa region specifically, and its dynamic international trade sector, the Bank is keen to work with both the public and private sector in Namibia in developing a robust pipeline of projects that it can financed by the Bank.
“It is principally for the above reason that we are here to re-introduce Afreximbank and familiarise the business sector in Namibia to the products and services offered by the Bank and to engage actively with the business community” he said.
The African Continental Free Trade Agreement established the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in 2018to eliminate tariffs on most goods and services and in the long-term create a liberalised market that will reduce barriers to capital and labour to facilitate investment.
Namibia was encouraged to seize the opportunities under this agreement when a campaign was launched by the trade ministry through the Namibia Trade Forum in August.