By: Hertha Ekandjo
Namibia’s 34 local cosmetics producers exported N$64 million worth of products abroad, predominantly to the European market.
Speaking at the launch of the Ondangwa Trade and Industrial Exhibition, Minister of Industrialisation and Trade Lucia Iipumbu said this has been achieved through the government’s Growth at Home Strategy.
“We have made tremendous progress in terms of the Growth at Home Strategy. Some 20 years ago, there wasn’t a single Namibian producing cosmetic products for the market. We started then with about four producers who started exhibiting and then exporting their products to the outside world,” Iipumbu said.
These are cosmetic products made mainly from ximenia oil, marula oil, !Nara, Kalahari melons and other local products. According to the Minister, this means the country has made tremendous improvement in ensuring growth and development of its capacity.
Last year, Namibian company Taneta Investment managed to sell its marula oil-based cosmetic products to the US market through the USAID Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub (USAID TradeHub) deal.
Iipumbu said these steps show the importance of combined joint efforts by all stakeholders to improve Namibia’s business and trade competitiveness in the global market.
“These initiatives are a testament to Namibia’s trade and manufacturing sector’s rapid development with the vision to identify new ideas and trends that shall harness our capabilities, to deliver more benefits to our people,” she said.
According to research, about 6,000 people in rural communities get their income from the harvesting of Marula nuts, of which 90% are women.
Co-founder and CEO of Saneta Investment Nampa Nengola said, as a cosmetic producing company and exporter, they face several challenges when it comes to exporting their products, the biggest one being shipping costs and tariff.
“The clients have to pay several import duties depending on the country they are exporting from,” she explained. The company exports to countries like Germany, Spain and France.
Nengola said access to capital is also hampering their ability to export their products to the European market.
She further stated that the excitement comes when their local products are being sold outside the country and making an income in foreign currency.
“But I think the challenges are much more than what is exciting. So if there was more support we could increase our product volumes because even though I told you that we do export, we are not exporting at the volumes that are sufficient to sustain us as a business,” she pointed out.
Nengola said that opportunities are there for other local producers if the challenges can be navigated together with the SMSEs and the government. “Yes, there is more potential, there are more opportunities as long as cosmetic producers are given more support to get over those challenges. But the opportunities are definitely there”.
The company exports its products via both airfreight and ocean-freight, depending on the customers request. However, she said the inconvenience only comes when there are additional charges that the customer did not expect.