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High Commissioner addresses British Council Africa (BCA) on Doing Business in Namibia
07 September 2011

Statement by His Excellency George M. Liswaniso, High Commissioner of the Republic of Namibia to the UK - Doing Business in Namibia - Investment Opportunities. British Council Africa , 7 September 2011

Director of Ceremonies,

Esteemed Captains of Industries,

Distinguished Invited Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me at the outset state how delighted I am to be back here at the British Council for Africa. I wish to thank you all for coming and more so to the Director of Ceremonies for the kind words.    

It is now 21 years since we gained our independence. We now consider Namibia to be an active and a responsible adult amongst the family and community of nations. We pride ourselves on having created an environment of peace and stability through reconciliation and by bringing into the government and the mainstream economy those citizens excluded in the past because of their race, creed and sex.

Namibia continues to have a stable political, trade and investment climate. This is complemented by modern infrastructure, such as airports, roads, railways, telecommunication networks and well functioning financial services sector.  Our Government is in the process of reviewing and modernising our legislation on investments to make it more attractive for investors and to make Namibia more competitive in terms of attracting foreign direct investments.   

Director of Ceremonies

Namibia faces many socio-economic challenges that must be addressed urgently. These include the unemployment, poverty, socio-economic inequalities, labour skills shortages and a narrow industrial base.  Government acknowledges that more is required to create jobs and reduce unemployment in the country. It is for this reason that the Namibian Government came up with the Targeted Intervention Programme for Employment and Economic Growth (TIPEEG), with a total funding of N$9.1 billion (that is equivalent to almost a billion pounds). The program is aimed at specifically addressing economic growth and the high unemployment rate through targeted Government support to strategic growth sectors such as agriculture, transport, tourism, housing and sanitation, and inclusive of public works.

The aim is to facilitate the creation and preservation of 104,000 direct and indirect jobs over a three year period. The targeted priority sectors that were identified for their potential to create jobs are:

·         agriculture;

·         tourism;

·         transport infrastructure;

·         as well as housing and sanitation.

·         Other sectors will also continue to receive attention.

The Namibian government recognizes that the private sector has a key role to play in the creation of sustainable job opportunities, and will implement necessary reforms aimed at enabling the private sector to unleashing its full potential.

Director of Ceremonies,

My message to you today is that Namibia is open for business. It is an important priority for our country to promote trade and investment.  This is part of our national development strategy aimed at broadening the industrial base of our economy, promoting value addition to our natural resources and creating new jobs in order to alleviate poverty and improve the living conditions of our people.

With regard to UK-Namibia relations, we continue to develop and maintain friendly and sound relations with the UK. Our bilateral relationship continues to be excellent. We have been encouraged by UK Government's active engagement with Africa particularly in terms of trade and investment. These relations were further strengthened by President Pohamba's recent successful visit to the UK from 24-28 June this year. President Pohamba was here in his capacity as the Chairperson of SADC to open the Africa Business Forum. Organised by the Commonwealth Business Council, the forum was aimed at showcasing infrastructure opportunities in the SADC region to UK and international investors. The President also had an opportunity to meet Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Andrew the Duke of York and several British Ministers.

In terms of trade ties between Namibia and the UK, UK exports to Namibia consist mainly of automotives and automotive parts and accessories, electrical and pharmaceutical equipment, while Namibia's major exports are diamonds, precious metals, fish, grapes, beer, meat and salt.

I would like to say that in addition to the traditional sectors such as mining, agriculture, fishing and financial services, foreign companies can also invest in the areas of manufacturing, energy and power generation, as well as tourism and agro processing.  

In terms of specific projects, I have brought with me, first, a booklet detailing a list of specific projects in Namibia needing investment that was presented at a Special Session on Namibia at the Africa Business Forum 2011, and Secondly, a document detailing list of bankable infrastructure projects in the SADC region presented in London when Namibia was chair of SADC.  I strongly urge you all to consider some of the projects in these documents. Furthermore, I also brought copies of an official report on Namibia titled "Namibia - Open for Business - Trade and Investment Opportunities, with interviews with the President, some Ministers and private sector representatives.

We aim to increase the volume of bilateral trade between Namibia and the UK currently around £200 million, while promoting Namibia as a gateway to markets in the SADC region.  It is my firm belief that there is room for further trade and business linkages.

Director of Ceremonies

In conclusion, I am delighted to announce that the Government of Namibia will be hosting the Namibia Inter-national Investment Forum in partnership with the Commonwealth Business Council, in Windhoek on 29 - 30 November 2011.

The Investment Forum will profile Namibia's national trade and investment strategies, as well as specific business opportunities in all economic sectors. Additionally, a Project Centre will be in place to enable bilateral meetings and group discussions, with on hand support, to facilitate business deals.

The Forum will also enable investors to talk directly with senior Government officials and business leaders. I therefore urge you to make every effort to participate in this important event and I look forward to meeting you in Windhoek.

Once again, thank you again for inviting me here today to engage you on how we can further increase trade and investment between Namibia and the UK.

I Thank You

Team NamibiaNamibian Tourism Board