Namibia has a shallow and simple production base and, as a result, will struggle to add value and produce complex products, the Fourth Industrialisation Revolution (4IR) Task Force found.
This comes at a time when calls countrywide, including policymakers/facilitators of economic activities, are calling for value addition, to put a stop to exporting raw materials.
However, the4IR Readiness Assessment, presented by the 4IR Task Team, found that the country’s production structure in terms of scale and complexity is not advanced enough for future production.
It appears there is still some work that Namibia needs to undertake to improve its Structures of Production.
Namibia scored 3.0 out of 10 for the Structure of Production and 3.9 for Drivers of Production, according to the 4IR Task Force assessment.
This score means that the Structures of Production of Namibia may still be small and simple, similar to many countries within Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Owing to its small production bases, Namibia is likely to find it difficult to expand into advanced manufacturing, because it may still be trying to develop its industrial base,” the report read.
Namibia’s scores for Structure of Production are placed in the nascent countries category, which are those least ready for the Future of Production.
In terms of Economic Complexity, the country is found to be even weaker.
Economic Complexity assesses the mix and uniqueness of products a country can make as a result of the amount of useful knowledge embedded in the economy and the ways in which this knowledge is combined.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) explained that Economic Complexity is the key measure of readiness for future production.
Because countries with a high economic complexity have the ability to make complex and unique products, which is important for future competitiveness in production, the WEF explained.
The 4IR assessment highlighted that Economic Complexity and production base can be improved by working on the Drivers of Production as key enablers that position a country to capitalise on emerging technologies and opportunities in the future of production.
Six main drivers were identified as technology & innovation, human capital, global trade & investment, institutional framework, sustainable resources, and demand environment.
The assessment found that Namibia performs comparatively well in physical and digital infrastructure.
However, internet services largely are perceived to be below average in terms of affordability and average in terms of reliability and speed.
As for the country’s education system which is tasked to produce human capital, the report indicated that it is perceived to not be supportive of digital transformation.
This is due to the limited availability of scientists, technologists, and engineers in Namibia and the below-average quality of science, mathematics, and digital education in the country
Meanwhile unemployed people in Namibia are seen as insufficiently supported in reskilling in terms of 4IR.
As for the quality of vocational training, the 4IR is perceived to be insufficient; and complex/specialised digital skills such as coding, software development, and advanced cybersecurity are lacking.
The Task Force highlighted the tone of work outstanding for the policymakers, training institutions and economic activities facilitators in deepening the country’s production base and economic complexity.