Namibia’s economic growth summit secures N$20 billion investments - News - Gondwana Collection


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Namibia’s economic growth summit secures N$20 billion investments

Avatar of inke inke - 02. August 2019 - Economics

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

Brigitte Weidlich

The economic growth summit in Windhoek, which was organised to secure projects in order to stimulate Namibia’s economy, has received some N$20 billion (about 1.22 billion Euros) worth of investments. The Namibian government announced several policy reforms to improve the ease of doing business. Some 880 local and international delegates attended the two-day summit, which ended on 01 August and was held under the theme “economic revival or inclusive growth – strengthening the Namibian house”.

“This exceeded our target of securing investments totalling one billion US dollars (about 901 million Euros),” said Johannes Gawaxab, chairman of the newly appointed high-level panel for the Namibian economy. “There were more pledges for additional projects worth N$30 billion (about 1.84 billion Euros) but we still have to scrutinise them,” Gawaxab told journalists at the press conference afterwards. President Hage Geingob appointed the 15-member panel in March for twelve months with clear targets to analyse challenges the country’s economy is facing, produce detailed recommendations, including policy reforms and to convene an economic growth summit.

Interesting projects for Namibia

Some projects have been known already, like the Ongos Valley housing development of N$4.3 billion (about 264 million Euros) and the Ohlthaver & List Group’s N$745 million (about 45.7 million Euros) development of a just concluded shopping centre expansion as well as an expansion of the Hangana Seafood factory at the coast. The Development Bank of Namibia and its South African counterpart DBSA will invest N$ 8.5 billion into several infrastructure projects, including housing and water in Namibia. This entails N$3 billion for NamWater to develop water projects, N$2.5 billion for NamPower, for electricity generation and transmission, and N$2.5 billion for TransNamib to acquire rolling stock like locomotives, to perform railway network upgrades and to operationalise its new business plan which focuses on rail transport. This entails transforming the railway station at Grootfontein into a transport and logistics hub.

Namibia’s Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) plans N$5 billion worth of investments, mainly housing and renewable energy projects.

The Dubai-based company which owns the Komsberg grape farm along Namibia’s Orange River will upgrade housing for its workers and expand the vineyards by 100 hectares, develop 125 hectares of citrus fruits and develop 100 hectares of lucerne production. A cold-storage facility, a packing plant, farm equipment and solar plants for electricity generation are included in the nearly N$1 billion (about 600 million Euros) investment.

The local tourism company Gondwana Collection will invest N$220 million (some 14 million Euros) in the economy. “We are building a new lodge near the King Nehale Gate of the Etosha National Park”, Managing Director Gys Joubert told the delegates. “We are also investing N$55 million into a property for an environmental tourism project and its development near the Hosea Kutako Airport east of Windhoek,” he added. Gondwana will plough some N$6 million into the training of its staff. According to Gawaxab, those projects add up to N$20 billion. “They have all been assessed, verified and validated,” he said.

The construction of the new Etosha King Nehale Lodge is progressing well. (Photo by: Gondwana)

A new project, Mega North Holdings in Walvis Bay, plans to construct and operate a 37,500-barrel per day barge-mounted refinery to provide clean fuels within the SADC region. The company will use the latest technology in fuel processing. The fuel processing facility, including storage, will take advantage of Namibia’s strategic geographic position and ambitions to become a logistics hub within southern Africa.

Policy reforms announced

At the opening of the summit President Hage Geingob announced concrete government reforms. “The economic headwinds of the last three years, climate change and drought have caused our government to thoroughly look policy reforms”, Geingob said. In response to the concern raised about company ownership under the national equitable economic empowerment framework (NEEEF), Cabinet agreed to expedite the finalisation of a law to that effect within 6 months. “The (draft) Bill has created uncertainty for the private sector and prospective investors into the Namibian economy and the ownership pillar with the compulsory 25 percent equity has been removed. However, all Pillars will remain and be taken into account for enterprises doing business with Government and applying for natural resources licensing”, Geingob said, drawing strong applause.

Other policy reforms are amendments to the Namibia Investment Promotion Act (NIPA). The law has not been operational due to concerns raised by the private sector. The government has finalised revisions, and amendments will be tabled in Parliament soon.

The government will review the three-year old Public Procurement Act, reviewed and amended where necessary, to simplify bidding and assessment procedures. This process will begin during the current financial year.

A construction council with regulatory powers will be established to protect local building companies from foreign competitors, particularly smaller enterprises in this sector.

The government will draft a national brand development strategy to build a strong Namibian brand as investment and tourism destination.

Changes in Visa requirements

The introduction of electronic visas at entry points at a low nominal fee will soon be available. Provision will be made for easy access for highly skilled professional and sort after skills with work visas. Cabinet approved that residence visas will be offered on the back of capital investment with a yet to-be-defined threshold for foreign investors and businesspeople with already established businesses in Namibia who should be given multiple entry visas valid for five years.

Another welcome decision announced at the economic growth summit is the provision of easy access for foreign pensioners who would like to live in Namibia with residence visas. “They have their pensions in their home country but many such pensioners would like to live in our country and spend their pension money here, so let them come,” Geingob said. 

President Hage Geingob inaugurated the new container terminal in Walvis Bay on 02 August. The terminal covers some 40 hectares and its construction cost N$4.2 billion. Photo by: State House Namibia

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