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Exporting raw minerals is old way of trading – Geingob – The Namibian

PRESIDENT Hage Geingob has told an Australian diplomat that exporting raw materials from Namibia is the country’s “old way of trading”.

He told the outgoing Australian high commissioner, Gita Kamath, yesterday that Namibia would soon move to value addition at home as opposed to exporting raw materials, which is the status quo.

“Very soon we will have to think of value addition and the transfer of technology”, he said.

This, however, follows a February deal in which Geingob agreed to export more critical raw materials to the European Union.

This agreement is set to be signed November.

Namibia plans to be a partner to the EU by assisting the union to address its current energy crisis through an agreement centred around sustainable critical raw material value chains and renewable hydrogen.

He told Kamath it is time for Namibia to create jobs through establishing local value chains.

“Add value to that side and create jobs as our neighbours and we do too . . . so that we can create jobs here. That is the future,” he said.

Kamath said Australia considers Namibia as one of its good trading partners among Commonwealth countries.

Australia and Namibia’s relationship has mainly been centred around mining.

According to the United Nations’ comtrade database on international trade, Namibia’s exports to Australia amounted to N$88,8 million, which is US$4,9 million, during 2021, while the EU imported raw materials worth N$129 million, as well as fuels and mining products worth N$2,2 billion from Namibia.

During the same time period, Namibia exported fish, crustaceans, molluscs, and aquatic invertebrates to Australia.

Australia has a number of mines in Namibia, including Bannerman Resources, an exploration company with a 95% interest in the Etango Uranium Project and Deep Yellow.

The mining industry was one of the few sectors of the Namibian economy to record a positive growth rate in 2018.

It grew by 22% and contributed 14% to the gross domestic product, according to the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA).

The strong performance was as a result of uranium and diamond production of 64,8% and 13,7%, respectively.

Experts and commentators, including economists, have called for the government to export more refined goods instead of raw materials to create more value chains in the country.

The NSA has previously also stated that minimal, a lack of, and slow industrialisation continues to widen the country’s trade deficit, with Namibia spending billions of dollars on importing manufactured goods from outside, and exporting raw materials.

In 2019, the NSA’s second quarter trade statistics showed the country spent N$27,2 billion on imports, compared to N$23,4 billion earned from exports.

This resulted in a N$3,7 billion deficit.

Geingob’s economic adviser has previously told international media the country hopes to get out of the rut in which many African countries find themselves, being exporters of raw materials rather than of refined products with more added value.

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