Real GDP declined by 1.1% in 2019, somewhat smaller than anticipated – expert
The local economy registered negative growth last year, but the contraction was somewhat smaller than anticipated as real GDP declined by 1.1% in 2019, according to the Namibia Statistics Agency’s preliminary national accounts data for 2019, this against an expectation by economic researchers (-1.7%).
The 1.1% decline was from an increase of 0.7% (revised upwards from 0.3% in 2018. Head of Research at PSG Namibia, Eloise du Plessis notes that looking at the economy from the production side in 2019, the mining quarrying industry was the worst performer.
“The industry recorded a decline of 11.1% compared to growth of 16.1% in 2018, mainly due to a slump in diamond -18% and uranium -4% production,” du Plessis said.
The construction industry continued its sharp downward trend that commenced in 2016 recording a decline of 7.9%, while the wholesale retail industry was again one of the weakest performers, declining by 4.7% compared to a 6.2% contraction in 2018.
Meanwhile, real value added by agriculture, forestry fishing recorded a contraction of 2.6% in 2019 compared to a decline of 1.9% in 2018.
“The poor performance in the agricultural industry is mostly attributable to the devastating drought which slashed crop harvests and decimated livestock populations,” du Plessis said.
However, the fishing sub-sector grew by 6.1% in 2019 from 0.1% in 2018 despite the spectre of the so called ‘fishrot’ (bribes for fishing quotas) scandal. One of the few bright spots in the economy in 2019 was financial insurance activities which increased by 6%, compared to stagnant growth in 2018, thanks in part to increased banking activities and higher banking fees.