Manufacturers learn in China
The Namibian Manufacturers’ Association (NMA) was invited by the National Planning Commission to attend a field trip and bilateral Seminar on Economic Reconstruction in China, arranged by the Chinese Government. This seminar took place from 28 November till 3 December 2011 in Beijing and from 4 – 8 December in Shanghai, China. The aim of the seminar was to promote co-operation in trade and to gain experience in the field of economic reconstruction from the Chinese Government. Mr Andries Leevi Hungamo, permanent secretary of the National Planning Commission, headed the Namibian delegation to this seminar which consisted of representatives of the public and private sectors of Namibia. The CEO of the NMA, Hennie Fourie, attended on behalf of the Association.
In the opening presentations of the seminar by Chinese delegates, it was stated that China experienced unprecedented economic growth during the recent years. China now contributes 10% to the annual world economic growth. It presently presents gigantic opportunities to its trading partners due to the fact that it offers a low cost and highly efficient outsourcing market, and it provides an export market of great potential to the world with its population of 1.37 billion people.
China exports mainly manufactured products such as machinery, transport equipment, light textiles, rubber products etc. It imports mainly machinery, crude oil, iron ore, rolled steel, refined petroleum products, copper and copper alloys and soy beans.
However, due to the fact that labour costs in China are rising, China is looking at the possibility to outsource approximately 83 million jobs to other countries in the near future. Namibia is considered as one of the top investment destinations in Southern Africa, due to its social and economic conditions, its stability and security situation as well as its infrastructure and links to the rest of Africa. It was also stated that 382 000 Chinese tourists visited African destinations in 2009 and this number is set to rise significantly.
Agricultural Commissioner, Mr Huang made a presentation on China’s Agricultural Development and Reform Policy. Half the population of China is living in rural areas and 38% are involved in agricultural production, he said. In its previous dispensation, agricultural produce were shared among producers. Now producers can keep their produce. Production and marketing assistance is provided by the Chinese government. An example is the development and provision of better seeds which give much higher yields. Processing of agricultural produce and development of related secondary industries are promoted. In this way, China is able to provide food for its large population and also stabilize world food prices. Namibia can learn from their experience, especially in the dry northeast of China where they promote water conservation, inter-alia by using membrane technology to cover the ground.