Namibian economics to the point - July 2019 - News - Gondwana Collection

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Namibian economics to the point - July 2019

Avatar of inke inke - 31. July 2019 - Economics

Brigitte Weidlich

The winter weather in July remained mostly moderate but with temperatures below freezing point here and there. The Namibian government received donations in cash and kind for drought relief worth N$104 million (about 6.5 million Euros) from the private sector, public companies and friendly nations like Russia and China. Namibia seeks some N$15 billion investments for projects disclosed at a business revival summit at month-end. The power utility NamPower revealed a new five-year strategic plan until 2023, with more emphasis on renewable energy sources. The Lufthansa subsidiary Eurowings announced this month it will introduce three weekly flights from Frankfurt to Windhoek starting 29 October.

Repairs to the roads in the Etosha National Park have started through a private business initiative financed via donations. A Walvis Bay fishing company is constructing a new fish processing facility, while a new N$50 million shopping centre was opened in Otjiwarongo. Private investors will develop a new suburb in Windhoek, Ongos Valley for N$4.3 billion. Business delegations from Turkey and China visited Namibia scouting for investment opportunities. Namibia’s inflation rate stood at 3.9 percent in June, down from 4.0 in May, the Namibia Statistics Agency announced in July.

More investments in Namibia

The director of the company Ongos Valley Development Americo de Almeida briefed President Hage Geingob this month about the huge investment in a new suburb at the northwestern outskirts of Windhoek. The investor told President Geingob that over the next 15 to 20 years, 25 000 housing units for low- and middle-income earners, four business centres including 106 business plots and 48 institutional plots would be developed. Ongos partnered with the Development Bank of Namibia, Absa Bank in South Africa, Nedbank, Standard Bank and the Development Corporation of Botswana for the N$4.3 billion (about 271.2 million Euros) investment.

First solar fishing factory at the coast

The Tunacor Group expanding operations by building a solar-powered horse mackerel processing facility in Walvis Bay. The 4 000-square-metre factory will be fitted with solar panels and will be Namibia’s first fishing factory going solar. Up to 250 more workers will be employed to process value-added horse mackerel products, bringing total employment to 2,500 workers at Tunacor. Fisheries Minister Bernhard Esau praised the investment at the ground-breaking ceremony, saying that the government encouraged more local processing of fish.

NamPower invests billions in local energy

The public electricity utility NamPower leads by example generating electricity from the sun on the roof of its headquarters in Windhoek. Photo by: NamPower

The state-owned power utility NamPower has increased local installed capacity from 375 mega watt to 606 MW at the end of 2018 and will increase it to 755 MW by 2022. Speaking during the launch of new business plan, Managing Director Kahenge Haulofu said the company plans a 20 MW solar power plant near Omaruru, another two solar plants of 20 MW each near Gobabis and Rehoboth, while a 50 MW biomass power plant is envisaged near Tsumeb. In addition, a 40 MW wind power project near Lüderitz is also planned. These projects will cost over N$5 billion (about 315.4 million Euros).

NamPower’s 175 ton transformer for the Gerus substation near Otjiwarongo returned to Namibia in July after being sent for repairs to Eskom in Johannesburg, South Africa in September 2018. The convoy attracted hundreds of onlookers as it carefully navigated its way through Gobabis, Windhoek and Okahandja. Photo by: Brigitte Weidlich

New development for Grootfontein

The train station of Grootfontein will become a logistics hub for Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The chief executive officer of the public company TransNamib announced this at a logistics forum at Grootfontein organised by the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG). 

“This will have many advantages since it largely cuts the transport distance from Lubumbashi in the DRC and Lusaka, Zambia, where volumes of copper products are loaded onto trucks which transport it to Walvis Bay for export, covering about 2,500 kilometres”, said Johnny Smith. 

The Namibia Ports Authority (NamPort), fuel transporters and courier services unanimously agreed with the decision to load and offload goods from Namibia or the DRC and Zambia at Grootfontein, and to distribute them to different destinations from there. Therefore, with the introduction of the Grootfontein hub, these trucks will now travel a distance of about 1,400 kilometres. 

According to Smith, one cargo train from the port of Walvis Bay can transport fuel commodities and goods of 30 trucks in one trip. “TransNamib is prepared to dedicate four trains a week for this business model,” he added.

Economic growth summit starts

After an international investment conference in November 2016, Namibia holds another international conference this year, which started on 31 July. The two-day summit is expected to bring some investment projects worth N$15 billion (about 1 million Euros). Over 700 delegates are attending the summit.

Officially opening the summit, President Hage Geingob underscored the historic significance of the event.

“This is no ordinary economic summit, but rather an undertaking to determine the economic destiny of our country,” the head of state said, emphasising that “the private sector as the engine for economic growth should therefore subscribe to our common agenda for inclusive growth and shared prosperity.”

Geingob said that policy uncertainty was a concern to investors. The National Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework (NEEEF) was being drafted into a bill of law to be tabled in Parliament “within six months”.

President Hage Geingob opened the two-day economic growth summit in Windhoek on 31 July 2019. Photo by: Brigitte Weidlich

“During the two-day summit, there will be ten break-away sessions focusing on key priority areas and economic sectors”, said Johannes Gawaxab, chairperson of the high-level panel on the Namibian economy. “These include agriculture, manufacturing and tourism. We are dedicating one session to employment creation and we expect a number of new investment announcements in the next two days, and we are convinced that we will uncover more investment opportunities during these sessions.” 

The summit ends on 01 August.

President Geingob opens expo in Botswana

President Hage Geingob was in Botswana on 27 July as guest of honour to open the 45th agricultural and trade show at Ghanzi, Botswana, some 500 km from Windhoek. Geingob noted important areas where Namibia is collaborating closely with countries in the region. Botswana, Namibia and Swaziland are sharing a quota to export beef to Norway. “Botswana has through its Botswana Meat Commission granted MeatCo, a Namibian export facility, space in their globally accredited cold storage facility in Cape Town, thereby providing a gateway for Namibia’s access to the EU beef market.” Geingob added that Ghanzi also serves as a gateway to Namibia, for many tourists travelling from Botswana, especially those travelling to Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. Furthermore, Ghanzi was a gateway to the Okavango Delta. Both Namibia and Botswana collaborate in wildlife management initiatives like the Kalahari Transfrontier Park, and the Kavango, Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA). Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi gave Geingob a young bull at the show as a present.

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