Windhoek – Namibia’s economy is showing signs of recovery, with mining and agriculture leading the charge.
However, the tourism is still limping as international travel remains curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Briefing the local media this week, Bank of Namibia Governor Mr Johannes !Gawaxab said full economic recovery would be hinged on vaccinations, investments and financial sector stability.
“In terms of the country’s economic challenges, which were exacerbated by the COVID-19 epidemic, Namibians, along with the rest of the world, have been through unprecedented and tough circumstances since the pandemic’s outbreak.
“As a result, Namibia’s GDP shrank by eight percent in 2021, eliminating jobs and hobbling businesses while also putting pressure on the government debt. The country cannot afford another hard lockdown since it would jeopardise more jobs and businesses,” he said.
Mr !Gawaxab continued: “While I share the plight of those demanding salary increases, my view and advise is that perhaps it is not the appropriate time to demand such as many corporates and the government are under severe COVID-19 induced financial strain. What we need to preoccupy ourselves with is to salvage the economy by prioritising vaccination across the country.”
The central bank boss emphasised that import substitution, export promotion and domestic and foreign investments were crucial. This, he said, entailed providing assistance to local firms via domestic procurement at individual, corporate and state levels.
These were all policy aspects captured in the Harambee Prosperity Plan II, he noted.
Mr !Gawaxab also raised alarm over an increase in dodgy financial schemes such as insecure cryptocurrencies.
“Crypto assets are without fundamental value, are highly volatile and lack transparency. The bank does not recognise, support, or recommend the possessing, utilisation and trading of cryptocurrencies in Namibia. As a result, members of the public who use these online-based platforms and instruments do so at their own risk and have no recourse, “he said.
He said the Bank of Namibia would make further pronouncements on crypto assets.
Meanwhile, financial accounts made public by the Namibian Statistics Agency this week show that the country’s total merchandise trade increased to N$18.7 billion (US$1.25 billion), or 0.8 percent, on March 2021.
According to Statistician-General Mr Alex Shimuafeni, “Namibia’s trade composition by partner illustrated that China continued as Namibia’s largest export market while South Africa maintained her first position as Namibia’s largest source of imports.”
He said Namibia’s export basket mainly comprised of minerals such as copper, uranium, precious stones (diamonds), fish, and non-monetary gold. Fish remained the only non-mineral product among the top five exports.
“On the other hand, the import basket consisted mainly of vessels, copper, petroleum and petroleum products, motor vehicles and medicaments. The April 2021 trade figures indicated that re-exports fell by 3.1 percent month-on-month while a more significant increase of 49.9 percent was noted year-on-year.”