About Namibia

 Namibia is a stable and democratic country. The Namibian Government is committed to stimulating economic growth and employment through the attraction and retention of investments. 

The recently-completed expansion of the port at Walvis Bay strategically positions the country as a gateway to the more than 330 million people in the broader Southern Africa market. 

Primary infrastructure is relatively well-developed and modern, with a good transport system, an efficient communication system (including cellular networks and broadband internet connectivity), and a sophisticated financial sector. The economy is mostly export-driven, with mining, tourism, fishing and agriculture being Namibia’s key sectors. 

WHY NAMIBIA?

FAST FACTS

WHY NAMIBIA?

 Top 3 Export Markets

 

China 

South Africa 

Botswana 

 

 Top 3 Import Markets

 

South Africa 

Zambia 

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Top 3 Exports

 

Copper 

Diamonds 

Uranium 

 Top 3 Import Markets

 

Copper 

Petroleum and petroleum products 

Vehicles 

RATE

 N$ / US$14,1890 (10 September 2021, Bank of Namibia) 

Trade Agreements

  •  African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) 
  • African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) 
  • Namibia-Zimbabwe Preferential Trade Agreement 
  • Southern African Customs Union (SACU) 
  • Southern African Customs Union (SACU) – European Free Trade Association (EFTA) 
  • Southern African Customs Union (SACU) – Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) 
  • Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and Mozambique-United Kingdom (UK) Economic Partnership Agreement 
  • Southern African Development Community (SADC) 
  • Southern African Development Community (SADC) – European Union (EU) Economic Partnership Agreement 
  • World Trade Organisation 

Investment Climate

The Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB) is the first port of contact for potential investors and provides comprehensive services, from the initial consulting stage to the operational stage. The NIPDB also provides general information and advice packages on investment opportunities, incentives and procedures. 

The task of the NIPDB is to help investors reduce red tape by liaising with government departments and regulatory agencies, including obtaining work visas for foreign investors. The Government of Namibia, therefore, welcomes and encourages foreign investment to help develop the national economy for the benefit of the people. 

Policy Environment

 Namibia’s foreign investment policy is governed by the Foreign Investment Act (27 of 1990) – FIA. The aim of the Act is to address and stimulate foreign investment in Namibia. The Namibian Investment Promotion Act (NIPA) is currently under review and will replace the FIA. 

Rankings

  • 1st in Africa, World Press Freedom Index – Reporters Without Borders (2021) 
  • 1st in Africa, Quality of Road Infrastructure, Global Competitiveness Report – World Economic Forum (2019) 
  • 2nd in Africa (12th globally), Global Gender Gap – World Economic Forum (2020) 
  • 6th in Africa, Corruption Perception Index – Transparency International (2020) 
  • 7th in Africa, Good Governance – Mo Ibrahim Foundation (2020)
  • 8th in Africa, Investment Attractiveness Index, Annual Survey of Mining Companies – Fraser Institute (2020) 

Diversification Strategy

Since 2016, Namibia has been hit by a series of negative economic events, including a commodity price downturn, an extended sub-continental drought and, like the rest of the world, the COVID-19 pandemic. The combination of these negative trends has amplified the cyclical nature of Namibia’s economy. 

As part of a high-level intervention to reduce the impact of these events, the Government of Namibia engaged the Harvard Kennedy School’s Growth Lab in 2019 with the aim of creating a roadmap to more sustainable economic development and growth. A joint team of representatives from the Bank of Namibia (the country’s central bank), Ministry of Finance, the National Planning Commission, Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade, and Harvard Growth Lab has been shepherding the process alongside other Namibian stakeholders. 

The work Namibia has been doing with Harvard Growth Lab predominantly focuses on: 

  • Diagnosing structural deficiencies in the economy 
  • Assessing and understanding the country’s economic complexity shortcomings 
  • Identifying particular strategies which could address the lack of economic depth 

 One of the major objectives that emerged from this research and analysis was the development of a Country Economic Diversification Strategy to address core issues impacting Namibia’s economy. The strategy is expected to: 

  • Reduce exposure to commodity price fluctuations and cycles 
  • Develop new sectors and products in the economy 
  • Focus on services and the economic value they create 
  • Increase economic complexity by facilitating the conversion of primary products from the commodities sector into secondary products 
  • Create new sectors and industries that will support the energy transition ambitions of the nation, making Namibia a continental leader in the Green Economy 

 Economic diversification efforts will be based on several sectors and prioritisation that leverages existing productive capabilities and that may enable transitions towards more sophisticated economic activities. 

SECTOR PROFILES

1. RENEWABLE ENEGRY

Namibia has some of the world’s best renewable energy resources. With the fast expansion of its existing transmission and distribution infrastructure it has the potential to become a net exporter of electricity to neighbouring countries. The clear legal framework governing the renewable energy sector increases investors’ confidence in the renewable energy market. Namibia’s Electricity Supply Industry (ESI) is regulated, operated and managed by several key role players. The Ministry of Mines and Energy is responsible for energy policy and legislation, while the Electricity Control Board (ECB) is the regulator of the ESI. NamPower, a commercial public entity, is responsible for electricity generation, transmission and energy trading. Regional Electricity Distributors (REDs) and some local authorities are licensed to distribute electricity, while a number of Independent Power Producers (IPPs) are licensed to generate renewable energy.

Moreover, Namibia has joined the green hydrogen revolution. Given its potential to slow climate change and create a sustainable energy supply for the world, green hydrogen has long been lauded as the fuel of the future. The key elements that position Namibia strategically for green hydrogen projects are the country’s vast potential to generate renewable energy, its existing electrical grid infrastructure, and its ports at Walvis Bay and Lüderitz, both capable of exporting green hydrogen to potential international buyers. As such, Namibia ticks all the boxes for green hydrogen production, positioning the country to potentially have among the lowest hydrogen production costs worldwide, and on a large scale.

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2. TOURISM & CONSERVATION

Tourism is arguably one of Namibia’s most socio-economically important sectors. The country’s unique natural attractions make it a global destination of choice amongst safari, luxury, adventure and photographic travellers. The variety of landscapes and scenery, healthy and ever-growing wildlife populations, enigmatic and friendly people and general safety and ease of travel have made Namibia one of the top destinations on the African continent. At the core of Namibia’s tourism lie the country’s successful conservation efforts, which ensure the continued existence of all that makes Namibia attractive and unique. The world-renowned Community-based Natural Resource Management programme and strong conservation policies embedded in the fabric of government are but two of the drivers of this success. Namibia was the first country on earth to write the protection of the environment into its constitution. It is also one of the only countries across the globe that protects its entire coastline. Namibia’s coastline extends over more than 1,570 km from the Orange River in the south to the Kunene River in the north. The entire coast, with the exception of a few coastal towns, is part of national parks.

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3. MARINE DAIMONDS & MINING

Mining remains one of the leading economic sectors, accounting for roughly 10% of Namibia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Historically, diamond mining has been the leading sub-sector of Namibia’s mining industry. Namdeb Diamond Corporation, the 50:50 joint venture between the Namibian Government and De Beers Group, is the primary land-based diamond mining company, while Debmarine Namibia conducts off-shore diamond mining.

Namibia is the world’s fourth largest producer of uranium oxide and a leading producer of zinc. Other important minerals mined in Namibia include gold, lithium, manganese and cobalt. The Namibian mining industry is well-developed and sophisticated, with numerous companies engaged in exploration and mining activities for various metals and minerals. Several local equipment and service providers exist to facilitate the distribution of foreign goods and services.

Despite having suffered contractions during the last two years, recent data show that the mining sector is rebounding, as reflected in the sector’s composite index which registered a growth of 20.1% in July 2021, compared to a decline of 5.5% in the preceding month. Annually, the index recorded a growth rate of 13.9% for 2021. Investment opportunities exist in mineral beneficiation.

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4. CULTURAL HERITAGE

Namibia is a multicultural country with an eclectic mix of people ranging from the earliest inhabitants, the San, various groups of people who migrated from the Great Lakes of East Africa to the southwestern corner of the continent centuries ago to the descendants of immigrants from Europe. Each of Namibia’s major population groups has its own language and cultural identity which is celebrated with annual festivals and commemorations. There is an almost infinite variety of time-honoured clothing, cuisine, dancing, singing, arts and crafts. Traditional and modern lifestyles mingle in urban areas. 

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5. EDUCATION

The right to education is enshrined as a fundamental human right in the Namibian Constitution. Basic education is compulsory for children from the age of six until they have completed primary school, or have reached the age of 16, whichever comes first. Primary education at state schools is free of charge, but does not include uniforms, stationery or hostel accommodation. 

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6. TRADE & FINANCE

Namibia offers a stable investment environment. It is a multiparty democracy which has enjoyed peace and stability since it gained independence from South Africa on 21 March 1990. Fundamental human rights and freedoms are guaranteed by the constitution.

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7. AGRICULTURE

Agriculture offers tremendous opportunities for contributing to economic growth, job creation, skills development and technological advancement. It has the potential to not only decrease inequality, but also improve living standards and ensure food security, both at national and household levels. The government has identified agriculture as one of three priority areas, and unlocking the potential of the agricultural sector is one of the goals of the Economic Advancement pillar of the government’s Harambee Prosperity Plan II.

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8. BLUE ECONOMY

Namibia’s strategic geographical location and access to the Atlantic Ocean with its rich fishing, mineral and other resources, as well as its spectacular coastal scenery, offer immense opportunities to develop the country’s Blue Economy to serve as a catalyst for value addition and job creation, socio-economic development and economic growth in an ecologically sustainable manner. Blue Economy refers to the use of ocean resources for sustainable economic development. For Namibia, a sustainable blue economy should provide not only economic, but also social benefits for present and future generations. A Blue Economy recognises marine ecosystems as natural assets and protects and maintains them accordingly. It also aspires for social and economic stability through the use of clean technology and renewable energy.

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9. HEALTH

Namibia, like most developing countries in the world, has experienced rapid urbanisation as people migrate to urban areas in search of employment and better prospects. In the three decades since independence, Namibia’s urban population has doubled from 27% to 54%. The population of the capital, Windhoek, alone has increased from 139,000 to 431,000 during the same period.

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10. HOUSING DEVELOPMENT

Namibia, like most developing countries in the world, has experienced rapid urbanisation as people migrate to urban areas in search of employment and better prospects. In the three decades since independence, Namibia’s urban population has doubled from 27% to 54%. The population of the capital, Windhoek, alone has increased from 139,000 to 431,000 during the same period.

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11. MANUFACTURING

The manufacturing sector plays an important role in Namibia’s long-term development goal to be a prosperous and industrialised country. It is one of the largest employers in the productive sector, after agriculture, and accounts for about 9.5% of Namibia’s gross domestic product (GDP).

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12. TRANSPORT & LOGISTICS

Situated on the south-western coast of Africa, Namibia has positioned itself as a logistics hub for landlocked SADC (Southern African Development Community) countries. Namibia’s well-developed transport infrastructure comprises a road network of 49 000 km, a 2 678 km rail network, two ports and two international as well as several domestic airports, and it is linked to neighbouring countries by four transport corridors. 

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