Namibian Economics To The Point - February 2023

28 Feb 2023

Photo: President Hage Geingob and Botswana's president Mokgweetsi Masisi (R) share a lighter moment at the Transkalahari/Mamuno border post. Photo: State House Namibia

February has brought mainly sporadic rainfall and long dry spells in-between, which interrupted plant growth on many crop fields.

Namibia and Botswana have launched a joint initiative to ease border crossing for citizens of both countries. They will only need to show their ID documents instead of a passport from now on.

Finance Minister Iipumbu Shiimi has tabled the new national budget in the National Assembly.

The government investigates the possibility to revive the liquidated national airline Air Namibia.

A newly formed air transport company Fly Etosha has applied for an operating licence.

The uranium mining company in the Erongo Region, Rössing Uranium has announced that it will extend its mining life span by ten years from 2026 to 2036.

The Bank of Namibia has increased its repo rate this month from 6.75 % to 7.00 %.

The inflation in Namibia stood at 7.0 % at the end of January (Dec.2022: 66.9%), according to the Namibia Statistics Authority (NSA).

The Pepkor Group will invest N$ 180 million in a distribution centre near Windhoek.

New budget for the financial year 2023/24

The Finance and Public Enterprises Minister Iipumbu Shiimi tabled an N$84.6 billion (about € 432 million) national budget for the 2023/24 financial year on 22 February in Parliament. This is roughly N$10 billion higher than a year ago.

The new budget provides for N$72.6 billion (about € 371 million) operating costs and the remainder for development such as infrastructure projects. The budget also includes some N$ 2 billion for development projects funded outside the State Revenue Fund and N$10.2 billion (about € 53 million) for debt servicing. As usual, education, health and defence are among the top three sectors which received the highest budgetary allocations.

As a member state of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), Namibia will receive a welcome windfall of N$24.3 billion (about € 124 million), form the SACU customs pool.

Namibia and Botswana ease cross-border travel

The presidents of Namibia and Botswana have signed an agreement to make cross-border travelling for their citizens easier. Citizens of the two countries will only need to show their identity documents at the Transkalahari/Mamuno border post.

"Our people live this side and that side of the common border and share the same languages and the same cultures", said Botswana's president Mokgweetsi Masisi. "This incentive to ease the cross-border travels will enable people to visit their relatives more easily".


President Hage Geingob and Botswana's president Mokgweetsi Masisi (R) share a lighter moment at the Transkalahari/Mamuno border post.
Photo: State House Namibia


President Hage Geingob emphasised that the move to only show one's ID card was the first of its kind in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Region. After signing the agreement during a ceremony at the Mamuno border post on 24 February both presidents walked on foot the few steps to the immigration offices of both countries and entered with their respective ID cards.

Progress with highway to Hosea Kutako Airport

A section of the southern bypass at the southern outskirts of Windhoek, which will link up to a dual highway to the Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA) has been opened to the public this month and eases traffic congestion in the Prosperita industrial area.

The approximately N$3 billion (about € 153 million) road project to the HKIA is constructed in phases, with phase 2A from the Auasblick suburb eastwards, to the Dordabis turnoff to be completed by December 2023. The first few kilometers might be opened to the public already by April, the Roads Authority indicated.

The dual highway to the airport will be completed in September 2024 and the entire route from Windhoek to the HKIA be officially opened to the public, in December the same year.

Chinese welcome to invest in green hydrogen

President Hage Geingob has said that Namibia was anticipating an increased involvement of Chinese companies in the growth of Namibia’s green energy sector, particularly the green hydrogen industry.

Geingob said this while speaking with Zhao Weiping, the newly appointed Chinese ambassador to Namibia, at State House in Windhoek.

Geingob, who briefed Zhao on the advancement of Namibia’s green hydrogen sector, stated that Namibia was prepared to cooperate with China to drive an even bigger expansion of bilateral relations.

The new Chinese ambassador Zhao praised the successes in Namibia’s economic and social progress under Geingob’s leadership while he presented his letter of credence.

Zhao referred to Geingob as a close friend of China

Zhao said, adding that the Chinese Embassy would promote the China Namibia economic cooperation, closely aligning its work with Namibia’s economic development goals and actual needs.

Namibia is hard at work to develop the local green hydrogen industry. In March 2022, the government put out a request through Green Hydrogen Namibia for GH2 pilot project proposals for grant funding.

Huge logistics and distribution centre near Windhoek

The local transport company FP Du Toit Transport has teamed up with the South African Pepkor retail group to construct a huge logistics and distribution centre at Brakwater just outside Windhoek on the road to Okahandja.

The project will be managed by South Africa's Safland Group; which has developed several shopping centres. The project will cost some N$180 million (about € 9 million).

The new centre will cover about 14,655 square metres and its location close to the highway is ideal to transport goods to all corners of the country. Pepkor's asset manager Shawn Bernard said the addition of a distribution centre had become necessary due to a growing customer base.

“We used to rent a distribution centre and our business has grown so much that it has required us to build a distribution centre in Namibia, ”Bernard said. The distribution centre will improve Pepkor’s ability to service its stores across Namibia. Pepkor owns the Pep, Ackermans, Incredible Connection and HiFi Corporation brands.

New commercial airline on the horizon

A new aviation company - Fly Etosha - has officially applied to the civil aviation authority of Namibia for a licence to operate aircraft for local flights within the country. The airline intends to transport passengers and cargo on its flights. In the mid-term, the company plans to extend flights to neighbouring countries.

In the meantime, the Namibian government is mulling the revival of the liquidated national airline Air Namibia. The ruling SWAPO party had mentioned in November last year that the government should consider the possibility. President Hage Geingob has held talks with Ethiopian Airlines in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia this month, while he attended the ordinary summit of the African Union. Ethiopian Airlines indicated they might render support for a new Air Namibia.

Brigitte Weidlich

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