Namibia’s trade analysis for 2017
An update by the Namibia Trade Forum
The total value of exports in 2016 was N$ 66 billion, which dropped by -5% in 2017 to N$ 63 billion. Imports also reduced by -10% (N$ 9.5 billion) in 2017.
Thus, there was an N$ 3.3 billion drop on exports in 2017 which hinders the country’s economic development objectives especially industrialization.
Namibia’s economy is experiencing a 2-year recession due to reduced government expenditure and fiscal consolidation. Various businesses rely on government expenditure for survival which they use to create employment opportunities.
1. The major export shortfalls in 2017 was by copper, gold, fish, meat
The shortfalls where caused by copper ores (-64%), copper cathodes (-76%) and unrefined copper exports. Gold exports flourished during 2016 but not in 2017.
The fishing sector slumped in most categories especially frozen fish (-41%), frozen mackerel (-35%), frozen hake (-47%), sardines (-30%), fish meal (-39%) and hake (-46%).
The global exports of copper ores increased by 28% and refined copper by 17% in the same year, this leaves Namibia in an unfavorable position in this sector.
Meat exports dropped by a -21%, followed by lamp carcasses by -43%. The export of live cattle reduced considerable in 2016 and 2017, compared to the previous years. Beer exports also plummeted by more than -26% since 2015.
Major primary and secondary sector jobs are dependent on the stability of the fishing sector and the poor performance in the fishing industry signal serious caution for the industry.
2. Stable exports by diamonds, zinc, fresh grapes, live sheep, salt and phosphorous
The various products that maintain a stable export trend are gold (5.6 billion), fresh grapes (498 million), live sheep (380 million), salt (334 million), pure zinc (1.8 billion), zinc ores (939 million), phosphorous (521 million), diamonds (12 billion).
Others are marble (276 million), hake blocks (3.4 billion), beer (843 million) and vehicles.
There is a need to address the various setbacks and challenges experienced by the private sector by imposing strategic measures to support these industries.
Chart 1: Total trade versus exports (2008 – 2017)
As per the chart below, total trade has reduced in 2017, since its highest peak in 2016.
Chart 2: Percentage change in exports values (2008 – 2017)
As per the chart below, 2010 experience a huge slump in exports, followed by 2015 and 2017. The best export spikes where in 2013 and 2016.
This article was prepared by Rodney Dan-Ao !Hoaeb of the Namibia Trade Forum.