TRADE and Investment

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.

Namibia has an abundance of natural resources, a sound macroeconomic environment and an excellent transport infrastructure. The country also has a healthy financial sector and a clear regulatory framework for the operation of businesses.

Investment in Namibia is regulated by the Foreign Investment Act, while amendments to the Namibian Investment Promotion Act (2016), which has been passed but is still under review, are in the process of being finalised. Amendments to provisions of the Public Procurement Act to simplify bidding and assessment procedures are also being finalised.

The Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA) is a statutory body established to improve service delivery and ensure the effective administration of business and intellectual property rights (IPRs). BIPA serves as a one-stop-centre for all business and IPR registrations, which has greatly improved the business registration process.

The Public Private Partnership Act has created a conducive and enabling environment for public private partnerships for approved projects. Investment opportunities include renewable energy, specialised education and health services, housing, water provision, land servicing and public-asset maintenance.

The Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB) has taken over the function of the Namibia Investment Centre (NIC), which used to be a department in the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade, and commenced operations on 1 January 2021. Its mandate, among others, is to promote and facilitate investment by foreign and Namibian investors and new ventures that contribute to economic development and job creation. It will also implement the Namibia Investment Policy and the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Policy and promote regional special economic zones. The NIPDB will serve as the one-stop-shop in admitting investors in the country.

The Special Economic Zone (SEZ) regime, which replaces the Export Processing Zone (EPZ), is in the process of being finalised. It will define the regime’s governance structure, as well as applicable investment incentives, focusing on all sectors.

Trade

The Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade (MIT) is responsible for the development and management of Namibia’s economic regulatory regime.

More than half of Namibia’s imports are from South Africa, followed by Zambia, China and Bulgaria. China is the country’s largest export market. Other key export markets are South Africa, Botswana, Belgium and Spain. Diamonds, fish, uranium, beef, grapes, salt, zinc, marble and beer are among Namibia’s main export products.

Namibia’s strategic location on the south-western coast of Africa enables market access to SADC (Southern African Development Community) countries with an estimated population of 350 million people. Namibia has positioned itself as a logistics hub and facilitates trade through the Walvis Bay Corridor Group’s four transport corridors which connect it to landlocked neighbouring countries such as Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The country’s road infrastructure has been ranked the best in Africa, and worldwide 21st out of 141 countries by the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report.

Namibia is a signatory to several bilateral and multilateral trade agreements. It has ratified the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement which will allow free access to commodities, goods and services when it is fully operational. Namibia’s membership of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) ensures the free flow of goods between Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini. It is also a member of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and a signatory to the SADC Protocol on Trade.

Preferential trade benefits have been granted to Namibia by the United States until 2025 under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) with duty-free access to the US market for more than 6,400 products. Namibia also enjoys 100% customs-free access to the European Union market under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union (EU) and SADC. Furthermore, Namibia also signed bilateral agreements with several countries.

MINISTRY OF INDUSTRIALISATION & TRADE

Minister Hon. Lucia Megano Iipumbu

www.mti.gov.na

“Growth at Home” is the theme chosen by the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade to reinforce the importance of accelerating economic growth, reducing income inequality and increasing employment. MIT’s programmes are geared at removing supply side constraints, increase productive capacity, and increase the competitiveness of Namibian industry in the domestic, regional and international markets. This Ministry is also responsible for promoting growth and development of the economy through the formulation and implementation of appropriate policies to attract investment, increase trade, develop and expand the country’s industrial base.

Bank and Finance

Namibia’s central bank, the Bank of Namibia (BoN), is responsible for controlling the country’s money supply, currency, banking institutions and other financial institutions that may be placed under its supervision by an act of parliament. It also performs all other functions performed by a central bank, such as allowing foreign investors to operate forex accounts in Namibia and the free repatriation of their profits.

The banking sector is served by seven commercial banks with international links to facilitate international banking, as well as a network of branches throughout the country and a branch of a foreign commercial bank, all of which are authorised by the Bank of Namibia. Services include corporate and investment banking as well as asset management.

The Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) provides finance for viable enterprises and sustainable initiatives that contribute to the development of Namibia. The bank offers a range of financial products for approved developmental projects in various sectors of the economy.

Non-banking financial institutions in the financial services industry are regulated and supervised by the Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority (NAMFISA). These institutions include insurance and medical aid funds, pension funds and friendly societies, asset and investment management and unlisted investment managers.

MINISTRY OF FINANCE

Minister Hon. Iipumbu Shiimi

www.mof.gov.na

The Ministry of Finance is responsible for issues concerning central government finances, including coordination of the central government budget, forecasts and analyses, tax issues, and management and administration of central government activities. The Ministry is also responsible for matters concerning financial markets and consumer legislation.

Information and Communication Technology

The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) is mandated to lay the foundation for the accelerated use and development of ICT throughout Namibia. Namibia’s two national telecommunications operators, Telecom Namibia and Mobile Communications Limited (MTC), are state-owned enterprises. The government is in the process of selling 49% of its stake in MTC, which will be listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange, during the course of 2021. MTC is continuing the rollout of its ‘081every1’ project which was launched in July 2017. The project, which includes building 524 new base stations, aims to achieve 100% population coverage.

Cellular services are provided by Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTC) and TN Mobile, the mobile communications division of Telecom Namibia. Mobile-cellular subscriptions per 100 inhabitants are at 113. Telecom Namibia Ltd, the national fixed line operator, is wholly owned by the government. There are 5.6 fixed-line telephone subscriptions per 100 inhabitants – substantially more than the average number of subscribers for Africa. Telecommunication services and networks, broadcasting services, postal services and the allocation of radio spectrum in Namibia are regulated and supervised by the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN), a state-owned enterprise.

MINISTRY OF INFORMATION & COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY

Minister Hon. Dr. Peya Mushelenga

www.mict.gov.na

The mandate of the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology is to lay the foundation for the accelerated use and development of ICT in Namibia, and coordinate information management within Government.