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Mining remains Namibia’s cash cow

The latest official trade statistics show that Namibia has increased its income from non-ferrous metal exports by 25.5 per cent to Belgium, China and Germany in the last quarter.

According to the Namibian Statistics Agency (NSA), the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) was the largest import source for Namibia, accounting for 43.8% of all imported vehicles, beverages, essential oils and various manufactured goods.

Mining remains Namibia’s cash cow and the largest foreign currency earner, raking in billions despite the disruption of production caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NSA said non-ferrous metals were among major high-value imports from COMESA (31,2 per cent of total imports).

“Equally, SADC excluding SACU region accounted for 31 per cent of Namibia’s total import bill, followed by the EU and BRICs in the fourth and fifth positions with 10,8 per cent and 6,8 per cent, respectively.

“Imports from SADC excluding SACU comprised mainly of non-ferrous metals, inorganic chemicals, metalliferous metals and animal feeds while metalliferous ores and metal scrap were responsible for the high import bill from the EU. Furthermore, iron and steel and; pharmaceutical products as well as machinery were commodities mostly imported from BRIC during the period under review,” the NSA said.

The agency said Namibia’s exports stood at N$8 billion (US$537 million) and imports at N$9,5 billion (about US$637 million).

“Recent figures show that exports improved month-on-month, rising by 2,3 per cent from its revised level of N$7,8 billion (US$523 million) in October 2020, but deteriorated by 3,9 per cent when compared to its level of N$8,3 billion (US$557 million) recorded in November 2019. Similarly, imports declined, falling by 22,4 per cent and 12,1 per cent when compared to its level of October 2020 and November 2019, respectively,” the NSA said.

The statistics bureau said China maintained its position as Namibia’s largest export destination (41,3 per cent), followed by South Africa (13,9 per cent). Rounding out the top five export destinations were Botswana, Belgium and Germany.

On imports, Namibia got most of its goods from South Africa (42,4 per cent), followed by Zambia (26,7 per cent), and then Bulgaria, China and the DRC.

“On the imports side, SACU remained the main source of Namibia’s imports having a share of 43,8 per cent in the country’s total import bill followed by COMESA and SADC excluding SACU with 31,2 per cent and 31 per cent, respectively. The EU and BRIC had a share of 10,8 per cent and 6,8 per cent respectively, in Namibia’s total import bill.

“Namibia’s trade by mode of transport shows that in November 2020, the majority of goods exported left the country by sea, accounting for 55,6 per cent of total exports. Followed by Air transport with 22,9 per cent and road transport with 21,5 per cent.

“With regards to imports, most goods that entered the country came in by road, accounting for 80,4 per cent of total imports followed by sea (17,7 per cent) and air (1,8 per cent),” NSA said.

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