Namibia aims to boost trade through AfCFTA
Entrepreneurs in Namibia are fast positioning themselves to seize the opportunities created under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement.
Maria Immanuel, an entrepreneur, based in Namibia’s capital Windhoek, trades with beauty products and music. In her exciting days of business, she had exported her range of O’nature Cosmetics products to countries including Botswana, South Africa, and Zambia.
But even so, hurdles in paperwork due to stringent requirements for compliance and long wait often thwarted her efforts as an entrepreneur.
“The duration for import and export also eats into your cost of doing business and adds to the operations of the business. The trade barriers are many and thus discourage traders from stimulating cross-border trade,” she said.
To leverage the free trade area, local entrepreneurs are positioning their ventures to maximize opportunities under the agreement.
For Delphine Ilunga, owner of Furaha Tours and Safaris in Namibia, operators in the tourism fraternity are also exploring ways to expand market share within the continent.
“We are looking at collaborating with other ventures on the African continent through inclusive packages for the continental market and populace. The sector is pleased about the agreement as it contributes to the movement of capital and natural persons, which would be an added advantage for the tourism sector,” he said.
Omu Kakujaha-Matundu, a local economist and academic, said the agreement also presents more opportunities for the local economy.
Kakujaha-Matundu said there is “strong potential to promote industrialization in sectors including textiles, wearing apparel, leather, milk and dairy products, wood and paper, metals, chemicals, vehicle and transport, electronics and other machinery.”
Lucia Iipumbu, Minister of Industrialisation and Trade, said that Namibia, a signatory to the agreement, is at an advanced stage of developing its National Strategy for Implementation of the agreement. The strategy aims to enhance the country’s capacity to implement commitments and obligations under the agreement effectively.
“The strategy is expected to identify key value addition and trade opportunities by further identifying where the comparative advantage lies as we seek to take advantage of value chains that will support and maximize our trade potential,” Iipumbu said.
She further said that the country has also taken part in negotiations from the very beginning to reduce non-tariff barriers and remove trade barriers of products manufactured in Africa. These include duties to ensure harmonization in the administrative work between countries when such trade occurs. (Xinhua).