Namibia’s total external debt stock within the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) currently stands at N$ 1.5 billion (US$1.150m ), The Villager has learnt.
According to Information availed to The Villager by Sadc Secretariat’s Programme Officer of Economic Statistics in the Directorate of Policy Planning Resource Mobilisation Deepchandsingh Jagai , Namibia is one of the debt ridden countries in the region courtesy of a fiscal prudency in the past five to ten years.
Sadc economic indicators also revealed that revealed that the region’s total debt stood at US$236.883b ( approximately N$3.1 trillion as at the exchange rate before printing), and Namibia is one of the members with a low debt following Lesotho (US$837m), Seychelles (US$464m) and Swaziland (N$341m).
Meanwhile South Africa recorded the highest debt within the region with a total of US$145b (approximately N$1.9t) followed by Tanzania US$14.4m (N$188.7b) and Zimbabwe US$10.6m (N$139.5b).
The Namibian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the Sadc at current market price stands at N$160.8b (US$12.277m). This was a decrease from the GDP at current market of N$170.2m that was recorded in the 2013.
Current market price is the price at which a product, financial instrument, service or other tradable item can be bought and sold at an open market. It is the going price.
The latest Sadc economic indicators revealed that the GDP at the current market price for the whole of Sadc region stood at US$707.167m (N$9.303 billion).
Despite the Namibian economy being closely linked to the South African economy with the Namibian Dollar pegged to the Rand, the South African GDP at current market price stood at US$350.874m (N$4.616b).
Currently the local economies GDP growth accelerated to 5.3% in 2014 from the 5.1% recorded in the 2013 financial year. The economy is expected to remain strong in the coming years as new mines start production and exports grow.
“Namibia’s imports of goods and services in Sadc for the period under review stood at US$7.754m (N$102.013m), South Africa had an import of goods and services of US$116.201 (N$1.528b). Namibia recorded 63.2% as a percentage of import of goods and services of GDP,” the report noted in part.
In a total of US$237.757m (N$3.127b), South Africa had the highest import of goods and services compared to other Sadc members with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) following suite with US$14.420m (N$189 713 125m) during the period under review.
“Meanwhile, exports of goods and services in the Sadc region stood at US$4863 (N$63.978m) out of a total of US$244.260m (N$3.201b) and as a percentage of GDP, it was 39.6%” the report noted in part.
South Africa recorded the highest export of goods and services in Sadc that stood at US$109.671m (N$1.437b) with Angola following with a total of US$63.790m (N$836.034m) and DRC had US$13.248m (N$173.628m).
The report also noted that Sadc’s trade balance stood at US$6.5b (N$85.2b), however Namibia recorded a trade deficit of US$2.8b (N$37.8b).
“Angola, Botswana and Zambia were the only Sadc members that did not record a trade deficit, with US$36.230m, US$1b, and US$934m,” the report added in part.
Namibia’s economy has largely been dependent on construction, agriculture, mining, wholesale and manufacturing with the latest figures for each being 8.1%, 15.6%, 15.7% and 11.6% respectively.
Namibia’s political solidity and discreet fiscal management have made the country attractive for investment.
The growth in GDP is due to robust construction activity and high consumer demand. The GDP growth is projected to improve to 5.6% in 2015 and 6.4% in 2016 as external demand improves and new mines start production and exporting.
Tight monetary policy has kept consumer price index (CPI) inflation within the target range of 3% to 6%, in addition, the Bank of Namibia in August 2014 effected a second surge in the repo rate by 25 basis points to 6% to steady the rising inflation caused by escalating food and transport prices. Subsequently, the CPI inflation rate toned-down from 6.1% in June to 4.7% in December.
With strong ties to South Africa, the region’s second biggest economy, Namibia has stronger competitiveness and investment attraction than average sub-Saharan countries, however the country will largely be affected by the Rand hitting a brief all-time low.
The Namibian Dollar is pegged to the Rand and the Rand temporarily hit a rate of 14 against the American dollar amidst worries around the strength of the Chinese economy. The rand is chiefly exposed because it is one of the globe's most highly traded emerging market currencies. Namibia, just like South Africa, relies largely on the sale of commodities to China and China’s economy is facing issues as its currency was devalued unexpected earlier this month.