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According to the Africa Year-ahead Outlook from Rand Merchant Bank’s (RMB) Markets Research team, optimism on growth in Namibia over the medium term are based on the efforts of both the private and public sectors to increase renewable energy across the country.

The Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN) says it cannot implement a single pricing system due to the diverse nature of the industry.

The Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) has in recent years increased the shift and reliance in the use of information technology for its staff and members. As we aim to reduce the further spread of the COVID-19, we encourage our members to make use of our online platforms such as the GIPF member portal, our regional call centre lines and regional emails addresses, to access our services.

The Bank of Namibia (BoN) says activity in the domestic economy improved during the third quarter of 2021 compared to the corresponding quarter of the previous year.

The improved activity according to the central bank was driven by the primary industry, particularly the mining sector where the production of most key minerals such as diamonds, uranium, gold and zinc scaled up.

“In the agricultural sector, livestock marketing activity for cattle and small stock increased during the period under review. In the tertiary industry, real turnover for wholesale and retail trade sector improved due to low base effects, following the COVID-19 related lockdown measures instituted during the third quarter of 2020,” the apex bank said.

“The communication subsector continued to sustain the growth in the information and communication sector, on the back of strong demand for internet data. The tourism sector, although remained weak, regained some ground lost in 2020, due to an increase in the tourist arrivals, triggered in part by the augmented global vaccine rollout and reduced travel restrictions. On the contrary, the construction and manufacturing sectors slowed during the third quarter.”

On the fiscal front, Central Government’s debt stock rose by 6.8% percentage points to 67% at the end of September 2021, the central bank said.

“The increase was driven by a rise in the issuance of both Treasury Bills and Internal Registered Stock, coupled with the disbursement of an IMF loan and supplemental financing from the African Development Bank to finance the budget deficit. Total loan guarantees as a percentage of GDP, however, declined on a yearly basis from 6.3 % to 5.6% during the period under review. The decline was due to repayments of foreign loans which were guaranteed by Government for the energy, transport and the communication sectors, coupled with the repayment of domestic loans for the transport sector,” BoN said.

On the external sector front, BoN said the current account balance deteriorated further by N$6.4 billion compared to a much smaller deficit of N$315 million in the corresponding quarter of last year ,while the stock of international reserves increased during the third quarter of 2021.

“As a percentage of GDP, current account deficit increased to 14.3 % from a mere deficit of 0.7% over the same period. The deterioration in the current account balance was mainly due to a lower surplus on the secondary income account as well as larger deficits in merchandise trade,” the central bank said.

“The stock of international reserves rose to N$45.9 billion, equivalent to an import cover of 5.7 months at the end of the third quarter. The increase in the stock of international reserves was mainly supported by the IMF’s SDR allocation, the IMF Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) and the AfDB loan acquired by the Namibian Government.”

This comes as Namibia’s economy grew by N$1.1 billion in Q3, recording a 2.3% growth compared to a decline of 12.3% recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2020, latest official figures from the Namibia Statistics Agency.

 

The Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) estimates that approximately 659,000 Namibians, making up 26% of the population, are facing high levels of acute food insecurity due to price shocks, drought and COVID-19 restrictive measures.

The Ministry of Finance says Namibia’s much-awaited Sovereign Wealth Fund, dubbed the Welwitschia Fund, will only be launched during the first quarter of 2022.

The City of Windhoek in November approved plans for 144 projects worth N$186.5 million.

Leonie Dunn has been appointed Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Namibia (BoN) for a period of five years by President Hage Geingob.

Government may release a second request for proposal (RFP) early next year for the development of another large-scale green-hydrogen complex, having announced a preferred bidder for the first such project in early November.

Here’s what we now know about the National Youth Service (NYS) taking over the Namibia Grape Company (NGC) last month. 

Why did government go to such lengths to acquire and donate such a lucrative business? 

In September 2007 the Government of the Republic of Namibia decided, through a Cabinet decision to purchase the Namibia Grape Company (NGC) and transfer it to National Youth Service on the basis that it will strengthen the capacity of NYS in delivering its mandate of empowering the Namibian youth. 

Did any money change hands and how much?

In terms of the sales agreement between GIPF and Government, the purchase price was set at N$56,6 million.  However, the value of the company has increased to more than N$ 322, 322, 000.00, when revenue and assets are taken into account. 

What is the Namibia Grape company, its size and what really does it farm?

Namibia Grape Company Farm is a staple grape producer on land measuring 770 hectares land located in Aussenkehr. 475 hectares was developed and planted with table grapes and 50 hectares is available and suitable for future development. The Farm has seventeen (17) cultivars planted on 475 hectares and these are grouped in:

  • Red seedless – Early, mid and late
  • White seedless – Early, mid and late
  • Black seedless – Mid
  • Red seedless – Mid 

What is the current staff compliment of the business?

The NGC employs  247 permanent staff :

  • Management staff – 48
  • General staff – 199
  • Seasonal 1311 which will increase to 1700 during harvesting time 

Now that the farm and its entire operations have now been donated, does the NYS have the capacity to manage it?           

NYS is the new owner but all day-to-day operations will be left to NGC management and Board, working under signed management and marketing agreement with Capespan South Africa. Namibia Grape Company is a successful and well-run company with own management and Board of Directors. The Management team at NGC has vast experience in grape farming spanning more than 15 years. 

Farming is a cash intensive business. How much investment does the NYS plan to make into the business? 

Grape farming in Namibia is seasonal and requires sufficient liquidity to ensure operations throughout the year. For most part of the year, operations relate to preparing the vines for the next crop harvest, which in Namibia is from November to January of each year. NGC is currently able to meet all its financial obligations and doesn’t require any immediate cash injection from NYS. However, any investment will carefully be considered to ensure that there are returns on such investments. As an independent company, NGC will be able to make such investments as and when a bankable business case is presented by potential funders. Since 2007, NGC has financed all the investments without any capital injection from external sources.

 Is the NYS planning to value add from the grapes farmed?

The value addition intervention undertaken is the production of raisins (dried grapes) which are also exported to South Africa for grading, packing and exported further to international market. There is no facility in Namibia to process and pack raisin grapes because the volume is quite small.

  • Any value addition needs a huge investment and before that there must be enough raw materials supply which is not the case with juice processing as value addition. 

What are the current markets for the grape produced and does the business have an offtake agreement for the grapes produced?

NGC has a market share in the Namibian grape industry as follows: Europe 44%, United Kingdom 36%, Africa 15%, Far East 2%, Middle East 3% and this how the market distribution was for 2020/21 season. The market remains the same for 2021/22 season but percentage will differ. 

Off – take

The Company has signed off-take agreements both local and in international markets in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

 

 

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