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GDP grows 5% in 2012: Economist

Namibia’s 2012 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is estimated to have grown by more than 5%.
Speaking ahead of next week’s release of the preliminary national accounts by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA), Economist Rowland Brown said Wednesday that contrary to previous consensus, GDP growth in 2012 is likely to be above 5% due to strong growth seen in the primary industries.
Brown’s comments come shortly after the statistics agency announced that the economy grew by 4.3% in the fourth quarter of 2012 after declining 3.7% in the third quarter. Statistics released this week by Statistician General, John Steytler shows that the mining sector grew by 47.7% in Q4 while agriculture saw a 21.1% growth. The electricity and water sector also saw a strong growth of 17.2% followed by the wholesale and retail trade sector at 11.8%.
The Bank of Namibia recently announced a GDP growth estimate of 4.6% for 2012 while the Minister of Finance during her budget speech in Parliament at the end of February estimated that growth will be around 4% in 2012.
However, Brown sees a stronger growth for 2012. He told Journalists: “The strong growth in mining output in 2012 is likely to support the economy’s overall growth. On the back of this strong growth, the primary sector can be expected to grow by as much as 20% in 2012 in total, when compared to 2011. As such final growth can be expected to be above most local analysts projections (of around 4.5%), and will probably come out at over 5% due to the high growth rates in the mineral sector.”
The economist cautioned that while mining continues to be a critical industry driving growth and development, it, however, shows the lack of diversity in the economy. Rowland said there is a need for Namibia to develop its manufacturing base and increase exports from that sector to stop the country’s over-reliance on the mining sector. Mining continues to contribute about half of Namibia’s total exports.

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