Namibian Economics to the point - June 2019 - News - Gondwana Collection


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Namibian Economics to the point - June 2019

Avatar of inke inke - 28. June 2019 - Economics

Cold winter temperatures prevailed over the southern and central areas of Namibia this month, while hot east wind weather in the Namib Desert and the coast brought a feeling of summer in between.

Namibia and Germany signed a financial cooperation agreement worth over N$ 1 billion, and the first consignment of Namibian beef arrived in China. Petrol and diesel prices increased by 30 cents a litre in June. Inflation stood at 4.1 percent at the end of May, down from 4.5 percent in April, the National Statistics Agency announced beginning mid-June. Cheque-payments in Namibia where phased out this month, bringing an end to the cheque-book era. From 1 July 2019 no cheque payments will be allowed anymore. The Bank of Namibia kept its repo rate at 6.75 percent. President Hage Geingob attended the first ever African wildlife summit in Zimbabwe. Two large supermarket chains in Namibia introduced levies on plastic bags this month to curb plastic waste.

Namibia receives N$1.3 billion German aid

Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein and the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Namibia, Christian Schlaga, signed a financial cooperation agreement on interest-subsidized loans for N$1.3 billion (about 80 million Euros). Three projects for water and transport infrastructure as well as financial inclusion in rural areas will be financed via Germany’s development bank, Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau.

N$320 million (about 20 million Euros) will be provided for the completion of phase two of the new road between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. The amount of N$640 million (about 40 million Euros) will be provided to upgrade the water infrastructure of Windhoek, which also includes the construction of an additional direct portable water reclamation plant. Some N$320 million (about 20 million Euros) is made available as long-term financing to NamPost’s financial subsidiary PostFin in support of lending to small enterprises and low income households countrywide. NamPost/NamFin has144 branches in Namibia. “Germany remains a major bilateral development cooperation partner to Namibia,” said Minister Schlettwein at the signing ceremony. “The targeted uptake of loans does not constitute additional borrowing, but means of funding for budgeted projects.” According to Ambassador Schlaga, German development cooperation with Namibia since 1990 amounts to N$15 billion (about 920 million Euros). Schlaga returns to Germany end of June to retire.

Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein (L) and German Ambassador Christian Schlaga (R) signed a loan agreement in Windhoek. Photo by: German Embassy

African Union holds first ever wildlife summit

The African Union (AU) has held its inaugural wildlife summit at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe on 24 June. Several African heads of states attended. Namibian President Hage Geingob recommended that the international diversity organisation CITES should agree to allow those African states which manage their wildlife well and keep large stocks of ivory and rhino horns to sell them off “in a controlled way and use the revenue to benefit the rural people” and conservation efforts.

The AU Commissioner for rural economy, Josefa Sacko praised the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA) as a prime example of collective management of wildlife resources. This is a joint project of Namibia, Angola, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe. “Due to KAZA more tourists are now visiting the southern African region, other African regions could follow this example”, Sacko said.

More developments in tourism

The local air freight and aircraft maintenance company Westair Aviation has started offering passenger flights form 24 June. Flights will be available from Windhoek to Oranjemund and Cape Town as well as to Johannesburg. The national airline Air Namibia has this month reduced its daily flights from Windhoek to Ondangwa, Cape Town and Johannesburg to once daily.

In another development the northern town of Ondangwa received the 2019 award as cleanest town of Namibia at the annual Namibia tourism expo in Windhoek. Mayor Paavo Amwele, who is also a business man has since 2017 started to devote his monthly mayoral allowance to pay unemployed youth to clean the town. The initiative gained momentum and more residents volunteered to join the campaign. Amwele uses his company’s trucks to transport the collected rubbish to the town’s dumpsite. In Namibia the post of mayor is not a fulltime job.

Meanwhile the coastal town of Swakopmund has been voted the most favourite tourism destination by viewers of South Africa’s private television channel “Kyknet” this month. Along with the award comes a marketing package via Kyknet worth N$1 million (about 61,300 Euros) to showcase Swakopmund as tourism destination. Gondwana Collections Kalahari Farmhouse at Stampriet again received the local eco award of ‘five flowers’ (equalling five stars) during the annual congress of the hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN).

Local company invests N$560 million in retail

President Geingob officiated at the opening of phase four of the Wernhil shopping centre in the heart of Windhoek. The Namibian company Ohlthaver & List has invested N$560 million in the centre which now offers 55,500 square metres of retails space, a small medical centre and parking for 1,800 cars. “Our company built Wernhil which opened in 1990 and was the country’s first shopping centre,” said O&L Executive Chairman Sven Thieme. The company was founded in 1919 and celebrates its centenary this year. President Geingob praised the investment despite difficult economic times. “Others should follow this good example – a local company investing in our economy”, said President Geingob.

Although Namibia’ s economy has shrunk by two percent in the first quarter of 2019, according to the statistics agency, a welcome boost is the arrival of the first consignment of Namibian beef, which arrived in Shijiazhaung in China’s Hebei Province in June. Namibian Ambassador to China Elia Kaiyamo was there to witness the milestone occasion on behalf of the Namibian government and the Meat Corporation of Namibia (Meatco). Namibia is the first African country exporting meat to China, which has stringent health requirements. In the financial year 2018-19, Meatco slaughtered only 62,896 cattle due to the prevailing drought, compared to 91,558 cattle during 2016-17.

The first consignment of 21 tonnes prime beef from Namibia arrived in China in the presence of Namibia’s Ambassador Elia Kaiyamo (L). Photo by: Namibian Embassy Beijing

Largest solar plant of 37MW inaugurated

The local power utility NamPower has inaugurated Namibia’s largest solar power plant, which is a public-private initiative between NamPower and the Spanish company Alten Energy Consortium. Alten owns 51 percent, NamPower 19 percent, and local shareholders of previously disadvantaged Namibians hold 30 percent. The photovoltaic plant is situated five km north of Mariental and consists of 140,000 crystalline silicon panels and covers one hundred hectares. Investment costs came to N$750 million (about 46 million Euros).

Namibia’s largest solar power plant of 37 MW was inaugurated near Mariental in June 2019. Photo by: Conrad Roedern

61.000 new houses for Erongo Region

The regional government of the Erongo Region plans to build 61,000 houses for low to middle income earners over the next five years in the region’s major towns like Swakopmund, Walvis Bay, Karibib, Usakos but also Okombahe. According to the State owned company National Housing Enterprise (NHE) a backlog of 94,000 houses exists in Namibia. NHE plans to construct 840 houses for N$380 million (about 23.3 million Euros) in due course. In Bethanie in southern Namibia a commercial famer, Jörg Gaugler started a private initiative to build small houses for older and needy residents. The first two houses were donated in June to two senior citizens. Each house cost around N$32,000 (about 1 965 Euros) to build, said Gaugler.

Economic revival summit on 31 July

The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) announced that an economic revival summit will take place in Windhoek from 31 July to 01 August. “The high level economic panel for which was recently appointed by President Hage Geingob organises the summit to revitalize our economy,” Deputy MICT-Minister Engel Nawatiseb said. Investment projects to the tune of N$15 billion (about 920 million Euros) will be packaged. About 600 local, regional and international delegates will be invited. The cost of the summit will be carried by the private sector.

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