Windhoek – Namibia is ramping up its economic diversification efforts by investing in value addition, promoting local production and enhancing skills development.
Namibian Minister of Finance Ipumbu Shiimi told national broadcaster NBC this week that a diversified economy was at the core of dealing with long-term challenges and creating resistance to shocks such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister Shiimi said the drive included boosting quality and leveraging on comparative advantages to build Namibia’s export capacity and at the same time reduce the country’s import bill.
He said, “It is important that we keep in mind that we have for a long time been relying on exportation of raw minerals. However at some point the minerals in our country will run out, hence we have deliberately moved towards diversity.”
The finance chief carried on: “We are currently one of the largest producers of meat in the world but we should not end on producing raw products and send them out in their raw form. What we need now is to find ways to create value for our meat.”
He said the government had identified around 100 locally produced items whose export potential would be greatly boosted by value addition.
The Director-General of the National Planning Commission, Mr Oberth Kandjoze said the government had commissioned research over the past two years to find ways of boosting economic resilience.
“What we are doing right now is to create a niche market for Namibian products in the world,” he said.
Mr Kandjoze said efforts were being made to ensure Namibian products were competitive on export markets.
Chief Executive of the Namibia Investment Promotion Board Mrs Nangula Uaandja added that the country had to implement attractive ways of luring and developing scarce skills. She explained that the country had to strike a balance between internal skills development and attracting expatriates.
“It is imperative to note that the idea of how long expatriates can occupy these jobs is something that needs to be debated but we need to keep in mind that we will be competing for the same skills with other nations as well. This means we need to offer favourable conditions to attract the needed skill,” she said.