By: Nghiinomenwa Erastus
Beyond the smuggling of oil at the Nam-Angola border of Oshikango, intra trade will also open as usual after it was shut as a measure of controlling the spread of Covid-19 last year between the two countries.
Various bilateral meetings between Angola and Namibia have resolved to open one of the busiest ungazetted borders on 1 February 2021.
A communique signed by the two countries last week was revealed- highlighting that the comradeship between the historically connected nations is responsible for the decision.
Angola and Namibia share a borderline stretching from the west till KavangoWest, with a notable small border post that facilitated a substantial amount of trade flow and people movement.
Namely, Oshikango, Katwitwi and Calai border post.
After three bilateral meetings between the two countries, they agreed to re-open their border to enable the movement of people and goods to enhance their citizens socio-economic status.
The two nations who are tied beyond trade relationship agreed that the Oshikango- Santa Clara and Katwitwi Border Post should be opened for people and goods in the 01 January 2021 and the rest of the Name-Angola borders will be opened by the 15 February 2021.
A joint committee, involving the bordering regions, such as Ohangwena, Omusati, Okavango West and Cunene Region will convene with the modalities required at the border posts.
However, a vaccination passport/certificate will be required to cross into Angola, or alternatively one should present a negative PCR test to the officials to proceed into the oil rich country.
Being fully fascinated in Angolan definition requires one to have received two doses of any vaccine.
Those who just received one dose will be allowed to enter but they will be quarantined for 7-days at their own cost.
Namibia and Angola share various ungazetted borders that facilitate informal cross border trade of merchandise between residents and non-residents.
However, these various border activities are not recorded by the Customs Authorities as their values are below the N$1 000 threshold required by Customs.
The closure of the border has worsened the negative progress of the Oshikango town, which has been surviving on the intra-trade between the two nations and the free movement of people.
According to the Namibia Statistics Agency, the low valued transactions when aggregated, these small transactions become significant due to their frequencies.
“If properly harnessed, the agency has the potential to support Namibia’s ongoing efforts of poverty alleviation,” the agency wrote in their 2019 informal cross border report.
The agency added that in general, informal cross-border trade plays a significant role in avoiding widespread food insecurity in neighbouring countries.
In 2019, total trade (imports plus exports) amounted to N$19.9 million up by 29,9 percent from the level of N$15,3 million recorded in 2016.
Exports made up the largest share of total trade at 83,7% (N$16,7 million) compared to imports which accounted for a relatively low share of 16,3% (N$3,2 million).
Subsequently, Namibia recorded a favourable informal trade balance amounting to N$13,4 million.
The Oshikango border post had the highest share (46,4%) in total trade followed by Wenela with a share of 42,2%.
With regards to the informal exports, the largest share of exports was through the Wenela border post (48%) followed by Oshikango which accounted for 45,6%.
On the other hand, most of the imports were recorded to have passed through Oshikango border post (51,1%) while 19,4% and 12,1% passed through Calai and Wenela, respectively.
The statistics agency has also explained in their 2019 report that informal cross-border trade is an important component of a country’s informal sector as it has spilled over effects on countries involved, particularly in the border towns.
This is due to the fact that informal cross-border trades have positive macroeconomic and social effects such as food security and income creation for the rural populations who would otherwise suffer from exclusion from the mainstream of trade.