High Commissioner in India punts direct export of diamonds and semi-precious stones
By Freeman Ngulu.
In a bid to further strengthen its bilateral trade, Namibia is exploring the options of exporting diamonds and semi-precious stones directly to India rather than exporting through marketing agencies or other countries.
The Namibian High Commissioner to India, Gabriel P. Sinimbo, earlier this month on 03 August at the inauguration of the Namibia Trade Commission office in Chennai, was quoted as saying “Currently, our diamond and semi-precious stones are exported through London to India, and we want to change that so that those commodities can be directly exported to India.”
The Trade Commission office has been set up by The India Africa Trade Council (IATC) in collaboration with the India Namibia Trade Forum (INTF).
“Equally, Namibia can source agriculture implements and machineries, Information Technology and many more goods from India,” he said. Sinimbo was addressing the India Namibia Trade Summit organised by the Forum.
In 2018-19, India Namibia bilateral trade was US$135.92 million with India’s export valued at US$82.37 million while imports stood at US$53.55 million.
India’s current exports to Namibia include pharmaceutical products, cereals and preparation of cereals, sugar and sugar confectionery, meat and other edibles, glass and glassware plastics, metals, machine tools and transport equipment, among others.
On the other hand, Namibia exports precious and semi-precious stones, iron and steel, zinc, non-ferrous metals, electrical machinery and equipment.
“India is among the top six trading partners for Namibia. India remains an important strategic partner both as a market and as a source of FDI,” Sinimbo said.
He noted that many Indian companies have invested in Namibia including Vedanta, Indian GPT Group of Companies (in a joint venture with TransNamib) and many other companies in areas of energy, agriculture, irrigation, healthcare, diamond cutting and polishing, as well as in retail.
“There is still a vast business opportunity in Namibia in the areas of agricultural processing,
pharmaceuticals, food processing, solar energy, IT, gemstones & jewellery, tertiary education and in the manufacturing sector,” he added.
Noting that many African countries, barring a few, are not well developed in terms of manufacturing, Sinimbo said that is the reason why Africa is a net importer of most commodities including food.
In Windhoek, the Head of Chancery at the Indian High Commission, Mr Vipul Bawa, commented “There is a lot of potential for growth in bilateral trade figures of our two countries, including in diamonds and [the] semi-precious stones sector. India is the world’s largest centre for diamond cutting and polishing, has some of the largest diamond bourses and is also one of the largest consumers of diamonds and diamonds jewellery. Direct trade offers enhanced benefits to key stakeholders and governments in doing away with intermediate processes and entities. We have been actively working to facilitate bilateral trade and investment, and stay committed to supporting and facilitating all such opportunities.”
Image of High Commissioner Sinimbo courtesy of the Hindu BusinessLine.