Economic growth slows to 3.1% in Q1

Namibia Statistics Agency Senior Statistician: National Accounts, Titus Kamatuka.

Economic growth for the first quarter of this year slowed significantly compared to the first quarter in 2014. This week, when the Namibia Statistics Agency released the growth figures for the first quarter, it became apparent that the tempo of growth is decelerating.

First quarter growth for 2015 measured 3.1% versus the 5.6% Q1 growth of last year.
This slowdown of 2.4 percentage points translates to a massive 44.6% deceleration in the tempo of growth.
Growth slowed down due to wholesale and retail trade that recorded a decline in the real value added of 2.4%. Hotels and restaurants, and the fishing sectors recorded slow growths of 7.1% and 2.5% respectively.
“The decline in the wholesale and retail trade sector is attributed to the revenue of supermarket that declined by 2.8% in the first quarter of 2015 compared to an increase of 35.6% recorded quarter-on quarter. The slow growth in the hotels and restaurants is a result of the number of bed nights sold and room nights sold that increased by 1.1% and 0.5% respectively compared to an increase of 11.3% in bed nights sold and 13.3% in room nights sold registered in the corresponding quarter of 2014,” said NSA Senior Statistician: National Accounts Titus Kamatuka.
Despite the decelerating growth, the agriculture and forestry sector expanded during the first quarter of 2015, estimating a growth of 7.4% in real value added compared to a contraction of 16.3% of the corresponding quarter of 2014.
“The improved performance of this sector is led by the sub-sector of the livestock farming which posted a strong growth of 26.7% in real value added when compared to a decline of 28.1% registered in the same quarter of 2014. The growth was due to the number of cattle exported on hoof that increased 185.5% compared to a decline of 58.6% register in the same quarter of 2014,” said Kamatuka.
The NSA also reported that the utility sector recorded an estimated growth of 7.5% in real added value in the first quarter of 2015 compared to a decline of 3% in real value added in the corresponding quarter of 2014.
The strong growth was driven by a favourable increase in the water sub-sector was mainly driven by the high demand in agriculture, with water consumption by livestock increasing by 32.2% and irrigation which has increased by 27.2%.
In addition the NSA said that the electricity sub-sector is also estimated to have registered a growth of 6.3% in real value added, which was influenced by the increase in electricity generation and a decline in electricity imports.
The real value added for the construction sector is estimated to have recorded a growth of 26% in the first quarter of 2015 compared to an increase of 19.4% quarter-on quarter. “The performance of the sector emanated from the value of buildings completed that registered a growth of 17% compared to a decline of 18.9% reported in the same period of 2014,” said Kamatuka.