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Trade Minister calls for value addition on raw materials

Industrialisation and Trade Minister Lucia Iipumbu has called for value addition on raw materials to allow for the development of the manufacturing sector.

She made the call during the launch of the 2022-2027 National African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Implementation Strategy and Action Plan on Monday, saying it wasn't proper for Africa to continue to be a consumer of finished and high-value goods, while continuing to export commodities in raw form.

“Our motive underpinning the AfCFTA is the development of the continent and her people. This means, adding value to our own products, creating and establishing regional value chains that will enhance opportunities for jobs through manufacturing. We want to give certainty to investors both locally and internationally and improve the ease of doing business. No Good Samaritan will do this except ourselves as a continent,” she said.

The Minister added that the country strategy will enable Namibia to tap into the opportunities provided through the Agreement, such as a larger market access.

“The strategy sets in motion the process of identifying and catalysing key value addition and trade opportunities based on the country’s comparative and competitive advantage. To this end, the Strategy will enable Namibia, particularly traders, investors and economic operators, to tap into the opportunities provided by the Agreement through its effective implementation, focusing on regulatory adaptation, institutional coordination and capacity building; as well as addressing critical trade and supply-side constraints,” Iipumbu said.

“We believe and anticipate significant opportunities will emanate from the implementation of the AfCFTA and this will lead to positive transformation of many economies on the continent. As you know, Namibia was one of the first to ratify the AfCFTA Agreement and we are therefore preparing to take full advantage of the opportunities that the Continental Free Trade Area will bring. These include, larger market access, improved competitiveness, and enhanced investment in the country, improved production capacities, improved living standard and employment creation.”

She said the Namibian government was committed towards the realisation of the free trade area, having signed the AfCFTA Agreement in 2018 and ratified the agreement in February 2019.

“Allow me lastly to encourage the business sector to use this immense opportunity and take advantage of the huge African market while appealing further for our close collaboration between the public and the private sector. The Government is committed and will continue to streamline policies and legislations to ease trade and grow our economy for the benefit of all our citizens,” the Trade minister said.

United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa’s Director Eunice Kamwendo said Namibia needs to embrace the emergence of e-commerce to penetrate into regional supply chains, thereby enhancing access to continental and global markets, contributing to growth potential of various sectors in the country.

 

“Will also draw attention to e-commerce platforms or digital trade opportunities as an emerging opportunity for Namibia to penetrate in regional supply chains, thereby enhancing access to continental and global markets. In addition, Namibia’s huge potential in agro processing and fish processing; mineral processing and beneficiation; and service-driven value chains, particularly in tourism and travel, financial, transport, communication, business services, educational and health services offers opportunities in a larger market and these opportunities should be grabbed,” she said.

“But there must also be a strong commitment at the level of the firms to drive productivity, enhance quality control and invest in skills capacity development at every level.However, there is one key issue that we must be cognisant of as we navigate the terrain of improving the competitiveness of our products and identify new African markets for domestic goods and services, and that is the need to address the infrastructure bottlenecks, both soft and hard.

Namibia’s National AfCFTA Implementation Strategy contains seven broad policy objectives with detailed action plans, including: Developing and submitting tariff offers and services schedules;  Establishment of the National Implementation Committee; Increasing Namibia’s export market; Developing capacity for trade in services; Attracting domestic, cross-border and foreign direct investment; Revamping its industrial policy and implementing it; and focusing on women and youth, and MSMEs.

Namibia, joins Malawi, Mauritius, Zambia and Zimbabwe as the five countries in the sub region that have completed the drafting of national strategies for the AfCFTA.

AfCFTA is a free trade area that aims to increase the ease of trade and investment across African borders, as well as eliminating tariffs on intra-African trade, reducing unemployment, increasing infrastructure development and creating a more competitive and sustainable environment for cross-border trade.

AfCFTA is designed to boost intra-African trade by up to 52.3% and expand Africa's economy to US$29 trillion by 2050.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 22 November 2022 09:30

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