Namibian Economics To The Point - April 2022

29 Apr 2022

Several areas of Namibia still received rainfall despite autumn approaching. The Kunene Region fortunately is one of the areas.

The Namibian government has announced in mid-April that the existing Covid-19 regulations will remain in place until 15 May 2022. Attendance at public events was increased from 500 to 1,000 people.

The health ministry announced on 26 April 2022, that the Trusted Travel System (TTS) is now in place and travellers can upload their PCR-test results and vaccination cards online to obtain electronic certificates.

The government said it would launch a sovereign wealth in May with a seed capital of N$300 million (about 20 million Euros) and it will be called the Welwitschia Fund, after the country’s famous ancient desert plant.

Moody’s has downgraded Namibia’s credit rating but changed its outlook from negative to stable.

Namibia is against a possible ban of hunting trophies into European Union (EU) member states as it would have a negative effect on people living in communal conservancies.

Mining has contributed 9.1 percent to the Namibian economy in 2021, despite setbacks due to Covid-19 effects on the economy. The president of the Chamber of Mines, Hilifa Mbako announced this during the Chamber’s annual general meeting end of April.

The Bank of Namibia raised its repo rate from 4 percent to 4.25 percent in April. In February the repo rate was already increased from 3.75 to 4.00%.

Inflation stood at 4.5 percent end of March, same as the month before according to the National Statistics Agency.


Covid-19 vaccination certificates go online

Namibia’s health ministry has announced that travellers can now obtain electronic Covid-19 vaccination certificates on the Trusted Travel System (TTS) platform, which the African Union introduced for its member states last December. Since 26 April 2022, fully vaccinated travellers can generate their authentic Covid-19 digital vaccination certificates online via the ‘trusted vaccines’ platform. "For a digital vaccination certificate with a QR code to be issued, the platform is equipped with a 'self-upload' function,” said Health and Social Services Minister Dr. Kalumbi Shangula. “Individuals can upload information and images of their vaccination cards and passports/travel documents for authentication". Authentication will take two weeks. The health authorities are engaged to establish full interoperability between the trusted vaccines' framework and the European Union’s digital Covid-19 ID certification trust gateways.


Possible EU import ban on hunting trophies bad for livelihoods

Namibia’s Minister of Environment, Tourism and Forestry, Pohamba Shifeta has informed a conference in Brussels that a possible ban on hunting trophies from developing countries to EU member states would adversely affect the livelihoods of rural areas.

The European Parliament’s ‘Intergroup on Biodiversity, Hunting and Countryside’ invited several stakeholders on 26 April 2022 to discuss the matter under the theme “Is Africa being heard? Hunting, Conservation and Livelihoods”.

“Hunting, conservation and livelihoods is particularly dear to Namibia and the issue as to whether voices from Africa are being heard on this matter is pertinent, Minister Pohamba Shifeta said. Most African countries, including Namibia, suffered large scale exterminations of their wildlife due to illegal hunting in the colonial era and discriminatory colonial laws. Those laws separated and disenfranchised people from wildlife and many wildlife species became confined to national parks. After independence in 1990, the government introduced laws so that rural communities and private landowners can manage their wildlife populations sustainably and derive financial and other benefits from them.
“Today, the majority of our wildlife population occurs on private and communal lands and we have more wildlife now than at any time in the last 100 years, having reversed losses suffered during the colonial and apartheid eras, Pohamba said in Brussels.


Namibian Minister Shifeta in Brussels
Environment and Tourism Minister Pohamba Shifeta was in Brussels. Photo: Environment Ministry.


Tourism is an important economic sector for Namibia, including sustainable and ethic trophy hunting. Joint venture tourism accounted for 49 percent of all revenue generated by the registered 86 communal conservancies. Conservation hunting accounted for 33% of income. Fifty-five out of the 86 communal conservancies (64%) have conservation hunting contracts in place and this underlines the importance of conservation hunting for the income generation and employment opportunities for communities in communal conservancies, said Shifeta. A possible ban on hunting trophies to EU countries would have a negative impact for Namibia.

The EU is still to decide on the matter. The United States (US) authorities have in the meantime lifted a five-year ban on hunting trophy imports from Africa, imposed by former president Donald Trump.


Moody’s changes rating for Namibia

The international rating agency Moody’s has downgraded Namibia’s government debt ratings from Ba3 to B1 this month, on the positive side they changed the country’s outlook from negative to stable.

The stable outlook means that Moody’s holds the view that the government’s efforts will eventually be effective in consolidating its fiscal accounts over the next three years notwithstanding the rigid spending structure. “The B1 rating captures the Namibian economy’s reduced (economic) shock absorption capacity and the continued increase in the debt ratio projected over the next three years, to 75 percent of the GDP in the 2023-24 financial years,” the agency stated.


New cooperation agreement with Germany

Namibia and Germany signed a new financial and a technical cooperation agreement in Windhoek in April, following negotiations on development cooperation in 2021. The two agreements cover eight new programmes to the value of 40.5 million Euros (about N$650 million). They will support technical and vocational education and training, promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), establishment of a sustainable financing mechanism for Namibia’s protected areas, establishment of an urban development fund, more sustainable urban transport for Windhoek,  the “Green People’s Energy” project, and sustainable use of Namibia’s mineral potential.

To date, German development cooperation with Namibia for governmental and non-governmental programmes - amounts to more than 1.2 billion Euros (about N$17 billion). “In per-capita terms, Namibia is thus the largest recipient of German development cooperation in Africa,” the German Embassy in Windhoek said.

Also in April, the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a medical school for military staff took place at the Osona military base near Okahandja. The 1.3 million Euro (about N$20 million) project is supported through Germany’s equipment aid programme. General Dr. Ndeitunga, the Chief of Staff of Defence Health Services, German ambassador Herbert Beck and members of the German Armed Forces Technical Advisory Group (GAFTAG), attended the ceremony. New training courses for medical personnel will start in 2023


Brigitte Weidlich

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