Namibia Trade Performance Reviews (TPR)

Intra-SADC Trade Performance Review 2006: Chapter 5: Namibia

Year of publication: 
Mmatlou Kalaba, TIPS
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The Namibian government’s commitment to trade liberalisation as one of the prime stimuli necessary for rapid development of the local economy, particularly given the country’s small size and necessary openness, seems to have had some positive results during the period under review. Namibia’s recent economic performance has been strong and based on prudent policies.

Most of its economic indicators, with the exception of one, for the period under review were within the targeted range; unemployment, though, remained high and affected one third of the economically active population. Mining extraction and agriculture and fisheries remained the primary drivers of Namibian exports.

The country’s principal export destinations were the EU and South Africa. Ores, minerals, copper and refined zinc accounted for half of the value of the country's total exports, followed by processed and preserved fish, equivalent to one fifth of the total value, and live animals with a share of less than one eighth of the total.

In terms of regional economic integration, whilst it is clear that Namibia is closely linked to South Africa, there was some evidence of deeper integration underway with both the SADC and SACU. Angola and Swaziland have recently showed stronger trade relations with Namibia.

Trade Performance Review 2005: Namibia

Year of publication: 
Moureen Matomola & S'khumbuzo Dlamini
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Namibia has abundant natural resources, good infrastructure and access to markets, but contrary to this potential, the economy is not well diversified. Economic activities are concentrated in primary sector activities namely the extraction and processing of minerals for export which accounts for 20% of GDP, large scale commercial livestock farming, and fishing. This has resulted in the economy being highly vulnerable to world market price fluctuations especially for products such as diamonds (BON, 2003).


In recognition of the importance of international trade and foreign direct investment in promoting economic growth, the government has opted to pursue an export-oriented strategy for economic growth and development, in which export push and investment promotion are central elements to the country’s trade policy and development strategy. Regional integration arrangements are also seen as vital in addressing critical demand-side constraints faced by Namibia due to its limited domestic market. It is believed that Namibia can overcome such constraints in the context of a larger regional market.

Regional integration is also viewed by the government as the stepping-stone to the country’s integration into the world economy (Kalenga, 2004). Namibia is currently developing a trade strategy which will cover most sectors of the economy. This strategy will be completed in 2006. Namibia’s small domestic market has forced policy-makers to focus on trade development as a way of achieving economic growth and poverty reduction. Until recently, trade policy has been loosely defined, though it features prominently in the overall development policy for the nation. The National Poverty Reduction Plan of 1999 cites export-oriented industries as a means of providing employment opportunities that will lift people out of poverty. Vision 2030, a long term development plan for the country, echoes the Poverty Reduction Plan, with strong emphasis on export-oriented industrial and service sectors. Some Namibian organisations, such as the Meat Board, have been active in developing their own trade policies and actively engaging in trade negotiations at many levels.

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