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

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Namibian economics to the point - September 2019

Avatar of inke inke - 27. September 2019 - Economics

 

Brigitte Weidlich

September saw the departure of winter weather except for a short cold spell at month-end. The first few rain clouds appeared, raising hopes for the rainy season to start soon.

The government has introduced electronic visa application procedures at the Hosea Kutako International Airport for tourists from 47 countries. The latest Travel and Tourism Competiveness Index 2019 by the World Economic Forum, ranked Namibia 81 out of 140 countries.

President Hage Geingob attended the UN General Assembly in New York.

The governments of Namibia and Germany successfully concluded economic development cooperation negotiations in Berlin worth over N$2 billion.

Renovations of the terminal buildings at the Hosea Kutako International Airport started this month.

The Namibian Breweries have introduced their third alcohol-free beer, called ‘Windhoek’.

The board and the management of the state-owned Namibia Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) announced austerity measures for its radio and television programmes due to reduced funding from the government. Broadcasting hours were reduced from 24 hours daily to 15 hours per day from 06h to 21h.

The inflation rate in Namibia stood at 3.7 percent in August, the national statistics agency (NSA) reported this month (July: 3.6%). Namibia’s economy shrunk by 2.6 percent in the 2nd quarter this year, according to the NSA.

Namibia also joined the International Clean-up Day on 21 September with thousands of inhabitants collecting garbage in their areas.

Easier entry into Namibia via electronic visa

In order to improve its global competitive ratings, Namibia reached another milestone by launching an electronic visa application counter for tourists at the Hosea Kutako International Airport on 25 September. 

Some 47 countries have been selected for tourism e-visa applications, 27 from Africa and 20 countries from abroad.

Leake Hangala, chairperson of the Namibia Airports Company (left) and Home Affairs Minister Frans Kapofi (right), launched the e-visa counter at the Hosea Kutako international Airport. Photo by: Ministry of International Relations (MIRCO), Namibia.

“All three categories of passports – ordinary, diplomatic and official/service passports – are accommodated for visa issuance on arrival”, Home Affairs Minister Frans Kapofi said at the launch. “We will bring more countries on board in future. We ask other countries to reciprocate or offer Namibia similar visa relaxed benefits for the good of all of us,” Minister Kapofi added. 

Tourists from the 47 selected countries must complete a visa application form on arrival at the Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA), submit the completed application form together with the passport to an immigration officer who will process the application. Upon approval of the application, the immigration officer will request the applicant to make a payment of N$1,080 (about 65 Euros). Passengers are encouraged to carry credit or debit cards as speed points are available. When credit or debit cards are not functioning, foreign currency can be exchanged for local currency at Bureau de Changes at the HKIA.

Immigration officials will still do the usual background checks, including whether the individual is not a prohibited immigrant in Namibia or appears on other watchlists.

Applicants should be able to provide proof to the immigration officer that their visit is legitimate, and that they have sufficient means of sustenance or proof that they are sponsored for that purpose during their stay. Passports must be valid for a period of at least six months from the date of arrival.

Tourism visas in Namibia are valid for 90 days per year, which may be granted immediately or as per the discretion of the immigration officer at the entry point, depending on information provided. Tourists may apply for extension while in Namibia, which may be granted subject to the payment of a fee of N$580 (including N$80 handling/administrative fee - about 35 Euros) and reasons advanced.

E-visa rollout to other entry points

The next phase will include the Walvis Bay airport where e-visa on arrival will be issued from the end of October 2019. Katima Mulilo border post will follow by the end of November 2019. Noordoewer, Ariamsvlei, Oshikango, Transkalahari (Buitepos) and Oranjemund will start in the first quarter of 2020. Persons coming to Namibia for employment purposes must apply for a working permit in advance.

Face-lift for Hosea Kutako International Airport 

The Namibia Airports Company (NAC) started with renovations and extensions for the two terminals at the HKIA this month. The revamp of approximately N$250 million (about 15.2 million Euros) will be completed in September 2020. Among others, the older building, currently reserved for VIPs (very important persons) will be enlarged and modernised.

Germany commits N$2.5 billion for cooperation support

The German government committed another N$2.5 billion (about 154 million Euros) to Namibia for economic cooperation. This was agreed at the latest intergovernmental negotiations on 17 and 18 September in Berlin. This commitment includes the assistance for drought relief and increasing climate resilience of 10 million Euros (about N$164 million), which was already announced by the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation Gerd Müller during his visit to Namibia in early September.

Germany’s Economic Cooperation Minister Gerd Müller visited the port of Walvis Bay in early September. Photo by: NamPort

Both countries also agreed on the expansion of the existing credit line to the Development Bank of Namibia for climate-relevant infrastructure, among others for projects in the energy, water and transport sectors.

Historic diamond mining site sold off

The Namdeb diamond company has sold one of the oldest mining sites, Elisabeth Bay, south of Lüderitz. The wholly Namibian-owned company Lewcor bought it for N$120 million (about 7.3 million Euros). According to Namdeb, a De Beers subsidiary, diamond mining was stopped in September 2018, as fewer diamonds were found. The site was started during German colonial days under the name Elisabeth-Bucht, after the first diamond was found near Lüderitz in 1908. “The site will still yield diamonds for a smaller company such as Lewcor”, Namdeb said.

Cleaner energy for the future

Namibia has committed to increase its share of renewable energy by 37 percent by 2030 to reach 70 percent. The Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta announced this at the 14th Conference of the Parties (COP14) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in New Delhi in mid-September. The share of renewable energy from hydro, solar, wind and biomass in electricity production would reach about 70 percent by 2030, he said.

Namibia also aims to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 89 percent until 2030,” said Minister Shifeta.

Stranded hippos in drying pond rescued

The Ministry has had a borehole drilled at a pond in the Zambezi Region where a large herd of hippos was stranded. The pond was drying out. The water is now flowing again, which is also beneficial for other wild animals and the livestock of communal farmers in area.

Two tourism pioneers are no more

And on a sad note, Namibia’s tourism sector has lost two prominent tourism personalities this month. The 47-year old Werner Beddies, who was well known in hospitality circles died in a car accident. Volker Grellmann, who was a major driving force in the establishment of Namibia’s ethical and professional trophy hunting sector and the training of hunting guides, died at the age of 77 (see our article on Grellmann). 

The late Werner Beddies (r., photo by New Era) and Volker Grellmann (Photo by Dirk Heinrich).
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