Interview with Amit Mohan
Examples are the over-subscription of the sovereign’s inaugural Eurobond in 2011, as well as the significant foreign investment in the country across a host of sectors, particularly in the mining sector. Namibia is politically and economically stable, with the ease of doing business in Namibia ranked amongst the highest on the continent. The country’s existing infrastructure is excellent (similar to South Africa’s) and continues to be developed and upgraded. Namibia also has a foreign current investment grade rating of BBB – (by Fitch) and Baa3 (by Moody’s). For the Standard Bank Group, Namibia continues to provide investment opportunities. We have been in operation in the Namibian market for nearly 100 years, and the bank is a good example of the group’s delivery of its Africa growth strategy.” How can institutional investors get exposure to Namibia?
“Through the services of investment banks, asset managers, direct access to equity and capital markets on the Namibian Stock Exchange and respective sectors, which Standard Bank Namibia is able to facilitate for any investor interested in entering the market.” What are the main risks of investing in Namibia? “Namibia is highly dependent on foreign imports, in particular food and oil and it has a significant dependence on Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU) revenue. Namibia conducts the majority of its trade with South Africa and is therefore, reliant on the performance of its neighbour’s economy. Similarly, Namibia’s monetary policy is dependent (directly pegged) on South Africa, which may affect its ability to react to stresses in its economy and may subject it to economic policies that are not in its best interests.” What about local capital markets? “Capital markets are reasonably sophisticated. However, due to a general shortage of quality local assets, the market is not as liquid as others in Sub-Saharan Africa. We expect the capital markets to gain some momentum with the increased investment in mineral and energy resources and infrastructure projects.” What needs to be improved to make Namibia more appealing to investors? “Namibia needs to increase the required investment in infrastructure development for mining exports and agricultural expansion. Improving labour conditions in the mining sector so that disruptions are minimised would increase appeal to investors.