Namibian Economics To The Point – July 2023

31 Jul 2023

July’s winter weather was a mix of warm days with two very cold spells in between, causing temperatures to drop below zero degrees and bringing snow to Aus in southern Namibia and a few spots west of Windhoek in the Khomas Hochland. 

Namibia has signed a trade cooperation agreement with the Russian Federation during the Russia-Africa summit. 

The local company Nexentury will construct a 100-megawatt solar plant east of Windhoek.  

Namibia has introduced its own official barcode, which will considerably ease the trade of Namibian products locally and internationally. 

The state-owned diamond trading company Namdia has recorded a net profit of 409.2 million N$ in the just ended financial year.  

Inflation stood at 5.30 percent at the end of June (May: 6.30%), according to the National Statistics Agency 

Trade cooperation agreement signed with Russia  

Namibia has signed a trade cooperation agreement with the Russian Federation during the Russia-Africa summit, which took place in Saint Petersburg at the end of July. This will entail aviation, shipbuilding, metallurgy, chemical industries, transport and special machinery as well as light industry. 

Namibia’s Minister of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development , Lucia Iipumbu and Russian Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Alexey Gruzdev signed the agreement. It further gives the two ministries the mandate to facilitate the establishment of business contacts between the industrial enterprises of both countries, providing for business and partnership-type cooperation.  

The Russia-Africa summit also provided a commercial platform, where countries, including Namibia showcased investment opportunities. Vice-President Nangolo Mbumba, who led the Namibian delegation, noted that the country was seeking technical assistance with inter alia machinery to expand its agricultural production.  


Minister of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development Lucia Iipumbu and Vice-President Nangolo Mbumba at the Russia Africa summit.
Photo by: Namibian Ministry of Foreign Affairs 


“We have embarked on green hydrogen production and assistance from our partners is welcome“, Mbumba informed the summit. 

Namibia receives own bar code after long wait 

Namibia's very own official barcode was finally unveiled last week after a lengthy finalisation process. 

"The introduction of the 631 prefix means we now have a distinctly Namibian barcode ‘signature’, a beacon that shines brightly for our goods in the international market," said Verna Sinimbo, Deputy Minister for Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development. 

Until recently, Namibian products had to use barcodes from South Africa and other countries. This had also affected the product traceability of Namibian goods. 

The Namibian barcode was finally approved by the general assembly of the GS1 global office in Geneva in May 2021 and officially announced by trade minister Lucia Iipumbu in September 2021. GS1 is the global organisation that issues and manages bar codes. The barcode contains a country code to verify the country of origin and Namibia's assigned number, is the prefix 631.  

The Namibia Trade Forum (NTF) had already initiated preparations for a Namibian barcode in 2016. The Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development then set up the "Namibia Barcode Centre" to establish Namibia as a member of GS1 with its own Namibian barcode for local goods. "GS1 Namibia" is now the country's official GS1 centre for the administration and allocation of Namibian barcodes 

Local company to construct 100-megawatt solar power plant 

The Ohlthaver & List subsidiary, O&L Nexentury will soon start building a 100-megawatt solar power plant near Windhoek, following approval of the company's generation licence and its export licence by the Electricity Control Board. 

The two licences are each valid for 25 years and phase one of the project is planned to be operational by July next year. 

O&L Nexentury managing director, Bernd Walbaum said the approximately one billion N$ project is aligned with the parent company's purpose, "Creating a future, enhancing life."  

"This project promises to be a positive contribution to the generation of renewable energy in the country and speaks of our commitment to expanding clean and sustainable energy solutions," he said.  

The plant will be constructed east of Windhoek and the generated energy will be sold to the electricity utility NamPower and other customers.  

State company Namdia earns good profits through diamond sales 

The state-owned trading company Namibia Diamond Corporation (Namdia) increased its turnover in the past financial year and, after deduction of all taxes, generated a net profit of N$ 409.2 million. That's the largest profit since Namdia started operations in 2016. 

This was announced by Namdia's Chief Operations Officer, Uahoroka Kauta, at a press conference in July 2023. 

Namdia sells rough diamonds from Namdeb and De Beers Marine Namibia, both subsidiaries of Namdeb Holdings, which is a subsidiary of the De Beers parent company. Namibia's government and De Beers each have a fifty percent stake in Namdeb Holdings. 

In the agreement negotiated between Namibia and De Beers in 2016, it was agreed that the Namibian government would be entitled to fifteen percent of the total annual production of Namdeb and De Beers Marine Namibia.  

Namdia buys these diamonds from the Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC). This percentage of mined rough diamonds is sold by Namdia on the international market outside the De Beers sales network. 

The number of direct customers has increased from nine in 2016 to 36 now. Around 25 percent of customers are in Belgium, 22 percent each in India and the United Arab Emirates, 14 percent in Israel and eight percent each in the USA and Namibia. 

The ten-year agreement with De Beers ends in 2026. Negotiations for a new agreement are expected to start next year. 

Rössing mine outsources operations to Chinese company  

Mining operations at the open pit mine of Rössing Uranium in the Erongo Region will soon be outsourced to the Chinese mining contractor Beifang. 

The Rössing board has recently approved the Life of Mine Extension project until 2036. 

As part of this, Beifang has been selected to mine phase four of the open pit on a 13-year contract, “after a lengthy and successful tender process to find a suitable mining contractor,” Rössing’s managing director, Johan Coetzee announced in July. 

The approximately 400-metre-deep open pit is getting narrower towards the bottom and will soon make it difficult for the huge trucks used so far to reach the bottom and manage the narrow road to the surface. Beifang would use smaller trucks to transport the ore from the bottom of the pit. 

Outsourcing the operations instead of investing in a new fleet of smaller trucks for only thirteen years seemed more cost effective, according to Rössing Uranium. 

Rössing’s current mining operations will end in 2026 and Beifang will take over. 

Rössing Uranium has China National Uranium Corporation (CNUC) as majority owner with 68,62 percent. 

In 2022, Rössing produced approximately 4.4 percent of the world’s uranium oxide. 

Brigitte Weidlich

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