The Namibian trade gap grew sharply in 2014, as more goods were imported, with a large chunk of imports coming from South Africa resulting in a trade deficit of N$26.2 billion compared to N$17.2 billion in the preceding year, according to the Annual Trade Statistics Bulletin 2014 released by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) on Wednesday.
The NSA said the widening of the trade deficit was reflected in a 23.2% increase in the import bill to N$90.6 billion, up from N$73.5 billion in the previous year.
In terms of exports the agency said total exports increased only moderately to N$64.4 billion from N$56.3 billion in 2013.
Namibia’s major export destinations in 2014 in order of value were Botswana (N$10.7 billion), South Africa (N$8.4 billion), Switzerland (N$7.8 billion) , Korea (N$5.8 billion) and Angola (N$4.7 billion. Exported commodities were dominated by precious stones (diamonds), ships and floating structures, ores, fish and copper. These markets accounted for 58.2% of total exports compared to 58.8% a year earlier.
Meanwhile on the import front, Namibia’s imports were dominated by South Africa with N$51.6 billion followed by Korea (N$5.9 billion), China (N$3.6 billion), Bahamas (N$3.1 billion) and Germany (N$2.6 billion). According to the NSA, Namibia’s top imports are vehicles, ships and floating structures, machinery and mechanical appliances, mineral fuels and electrical machinery and equipment.
According to the NSA report, the largest amount of imports is from SACU (N$53.8 billion), followed by the European Union (N$8.6 billion) and SADC-Non-SACU (N$3.5 billion), while in terms of exports Namibia exported goods worth N$19.4 billion to SACU, N$8.6 to SADC-Non-SACU, N$7.9 billion to the EU, N$7.8 billion to EFTA, N$3.6 billion to COMESA and N$2.5 billion to BRIC.
Namibia last enjoyed trade surplus in the years of 2005, 2006 and 2008. Since then the trade deficit has increased every year.