Namibian Economics To The Point – September 2021

30 Sep 2021

Author: Brigitte Weidlich 

September brought warm spring weather and the first few modest rainfalls. President Hage Geingob held several talks with investors in the USA, while he attended the United Nations’ general assembly.

The import and export of containers and their freight is now under better control after a special controlling unit was set up at the port of Walvis Bay.

Namibia has been granted its own bar code for goods and products. The first factory producing explosives has opened in Walvis Bay.

The World Expo 2020 opens on 01 October in Dubai and Namibia is also represented at the exhibition. The expo will run until March 2022. It was delayed by a year due to Covid-19.

Inflation in Namibia stood at 3.40 percent at the end of August, according to the National Statistics Agency (NSA).

President Geingob invites US investors to Namibia

President Hage Geingob had meetings with business representatives in New York on the sidelines of the UN general assembly and participated in the global food summit hosted by the UN.   


Präsident Hage Geingob addressed the UN assembly in New York. Photo by: United Nations


Namibia already exports beef to the US. On 27 September the Namibian head of state took part in the US-Namibia business roundtable in Washington, hosted by the Corporate Council on Africa. The meeting was an opportunity for the Namibian delegation to inform about priority projects to revitalise the economy via strategic sectors such as energy, agriculture and tourism. The envisaged green hydrogen project and ammonia production was also highlighted.

The roundtable session was attended by business leaders from transnational companies such as Royal Dutch Shell, Abbot, Trimble, Lockheed Martin and others.

President Geingob also met members of the US Congress at Capitol Hill to discuss ways to further strengthen commercial ties between Namibia and the US, as well as reinforcing US-Africa business relations to unlock opportunities for economic development. They all emphasised the need to do more for the partnership with Africa and Namibia in particular, according to Alfredo Hengari, press secretary of the Namibian presidency.

President Geingob thanked the Government of the United States of America for donations of Covid-19 vaccines, including Pfizer, which was recently delivered to Namibia. Also in September the first shipment of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine, a donation of the US, arrived in Namibia.

Great honour for Namibia and former top model

Meanwhile the Namibian top model and former Miss Universe, Michelle McLean has received a top award. McLean, who now lives in the US, was invited by the Namibian delegation to meet investors to stir their interest in her home country Namibia. Michelle McLean featured on the New York Time Square Billboard.

Namibian model Michelle McLean's photo at New York Time Square in September. Photo:

McLean, who put Namibia on the map when she won Miss Universe in 1992, was named Top Humanitarian and Entrepreneur 2021.
“I am so honoured to be at the reveal of my award as Top Humanitarian and Entrepreneur of the year for IAOTP (International Association of Top Professionals),” McLean said. “I am proud to represent my country for tourism and investment with President Geingob while at the UN General Assembly.

McLean was lauded as a philanthropist for establishing the Michelle McLean Children Trust in Namibia in 1992. This foundation has accomplished several projects over the last 20 years, including collaboration with international movie stars Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.  The Michelle McLean Primary School in a poor Windhoek neighbourhood has since its inception catered to over 1 100 children every year.

McLean has also established the Michelle McLean School of Excellence, which provides scholarships, entrepreneurial and financial skills training to thousands of students in Namibia.

Container control programme at Walvis Bay port kicks off

The Namibian Revenue Authority officially launched the Container Control Programme (CCP) at the port of Walvis Bay this month. The program will improve the port’s ability to interdict illegally smuggled goods, including wildlife and forestry products like timber logs.

The United States government is funding the programme, which cost some N$10,5 million) (about 700,000 Euros). The UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) will implement the programme together with the Walvis Bay port authorities. Namibia is the first country in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which implements this programme.

According to the UN, up to 90 percent of world cargo is moved through the shipping of containers but less than two percent is physically inspected by customs authorities to verify the content. This is partly the reason why containers are largely used for illegal activities, such as smuggling of protected wildlife and timber products.

Namibia has been severely affected – both as a source and transit for wildlife and forest products trafficking. In 2017, an estimated 250 to 300 containers of raw timber (logs) left the port of Walvis Bay for China every month, according to UNODC. Most of the logs were harvested in South-Eastern Angola, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, countries that have banned the export of raw logs. Illegal trade of pangolins, one of the world’s most trafficked animals, has been identified in Namibia.

The CCP launched at Walvis Bay provides advanced training to port control officials. It will also strengthen international cooperation with international law enforcement entities and the global UNODC network.

Namibia produces its own explosives

Namibia has started to produce its own explosives, which are mainly destined for the mining sector. The ammonium nitrate factory, opened outside Walvis Bay in September. Ammonium nitrate is an explosive used for mining, quarrying and construction. The new N$40 million Orica factory intends to produce some16,000 tonnes of explosives annually. The local production would significantly reduce imports, according to the manager Pontsho Maja. Orica has similar factories in other African countries.
The explosives factory is adhering to strict local and international safety and environmental impact regulations.

Namibia receives own barcode for its products

Namibia was granted its own product identification code, also known as bar code by the Global System of Supply Chain Standards (GS1).

The unique Namibian barcode was given final approval in May 2021 by the Global GS1 Office General Assembly in Geneva and was officially unveiled end of September by Minister of Industrialisation and Trade Lucia Iipumbu. Namibia’s country code is 631. Minister Ipumbu said it was a long journey, which started in 2016. Until recently, Namibian products had to obtain barcodes from South Africa and other jurisdictions.

The Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade had to set up the Namibia Barcode Centre to establish Namibia as a recognised GS1 member organisation. GS1 Namibia will carry out the administration, facilitation and allocation of barcodes as the official GS1 centre in the country.

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