Economic Data & Reports
U.S. Economic Data and Reports
The United States economy – the world’s largest, with a per capita GDP of $48,100 (in 2011) is a mixed economy in which private individuals, businesses, and state and federal governments all play important roles. U.S. firms have a great deal of flexibility in terms of expanding capital, laying off surplus workers, and developing new products; but they face higher barriers to enter foreign markets than foreign firms face entering U.S. markets. The United States represents a huge and relatively wealthy market (per capita GDP is 6th in the world); however, the sheer size of the market and competition with American companies can sometimes make it difficult for foreign companies wishing to gain access.
The United States enjoys rich mineral resources, fertile farmland, and a moderate climate. Labor-force quality continues to be an important issue in the United States; with the increasing pace of global competition, government leaders and business officials increasingly stress the importance of education and training to develop workers with the nimble minds and adaptable skills needed in new industries such as computers and telecommunications.
While the U.S. economy is somewhat vulnerable to the price of oil (imported oil accounts for nearly 55% of U.S. consumption) and recent wars have increased public debt significantly, the U.S. economy continues to experience moderate, but steady growth. Still, the purchasing power of the United States consumer remains considerable, offering significant opportunities for foreign firms who wish to export to the United States. The availability of a skilled and educated work force, the stable economy, and relatively low barriers to entry also offer opportunities to firms wishing to invest in the United States.
Currently, Namibia’s major exports to the United States include uranium, diamonds (uncut, unmounted), and frozen seafoods. However, furs, skins and collectibles also feature significantly, and the United States also represents a large and largely untapped market for tourism and tourism-related services.
Additional data and statistics on the United States economy are available below:
• The Bureau of Economic Analysis provides a wide variety of economic data and statistics about the United States – national, international, regional, and by sector.
• The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes statistics on labor, including employment, unemployment, labor costs, price indexes/inflation, and has a list of links to regional labor offices.
• The U.S. Trade Representative publications and reports webpage provides a number of trade-related reports focusing on policies, barriers to trade, and the “Special 301” report on intellectual property rights protection.
• The U.S. Census Bureau provides the expected data on the U.S. population; however, it also provides data on trade and business. See the “business” tab.
• The U.S. Department of Commerce webpage lists a number of economic indicators and reports focusing on trade and commerce in the United States, and with other countries.
Namibian Economic Data and Reports
The expanding port of Walvis Bay is helping to position Namibia as a gateway to the more than 240 million person Southern Africa market. Namibia enjoys one of the most stable, peaceful political environments in Africa, with relatively well-developed and modern primary infrastructure (roads, rail, air, energy and telecommunications).
Namibia’s economy is mostly export driven, with mining, tourism, fishing and agriculture as key industries. Imports to Namibia are dominated by South Africa (75% of the total); the United States is generally among the lower end of the top 10 trading partners with Namibia, and U.S. foreign direct investment in Namibia is minimal. The Namibian dollar is pegged to the South African Rand.
Namibia is among the countries with the worst income disparities in the world (a Gini-coefficient of 0.6); employers must also consider and plan for the impact of HIV/AIDS on their workforce. UNAIDS estimated the adult prevalence rate to be between 11% and 15.5% for 2009 based on HIV prevalence studies in pregnant women. Despite high unemployment, there is a critical shortage of skilled labor. (Note: unemployment was estimated at 51 percent in 2011 but this figure has recently been questioned; the actual rate may be between 28 and 35 percent).
Although partnering with Namibians is not a legal requirement, the government actively encourages partnerships with historically disadvantaged Namibians to facilitate skills transfer.
Namibia imports almost all of its consumer goods and most of its primary resources are exported, largely unprocessed. Opportunities exist to introduce new consumer goods and manufacturing investment for both local and international markets. Namibia is an eligible country under the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA). AGOA allows for duty-free access to U.S. markets for more than 6,400 products. For information on AGOA, please consult: http://www.agoa.gov/
Tourism is one of the country’s fastest growing industries and provides significant employment opportunities. Namibia is a nature-based tourism destination with spectacular scenery, including a wide variety of wildlife, the world’s oldest desert, the world’s highest sand dunes, and community-based wildlife conservancies with exciting tourism enterprise development potential.
Anticipated electricity shortages in the near term have led to heightened Namibian government interest in investing in new power generation and transmission capabilities. The national electricity regulator, the Electricity Control Board (ECB), has developed an independent power producer framework (IPP), and is keen to attract foreign investors that can develop power generation capabilities that can service domestic and/or regional demand.
Namibia has a wealth of natural resources including diamonds, zinc, copper, gold and uranium, which are the primary sources of foreign exchange earnings. According to the World Nuclear Association, Namibia is the world’s fourth largest producer of uranium oxide. With two operational uranium mines and several more mines planned to become operational by 2013, there should be opportunities for companies that provide equipment and services to mining operators.
Namibia’s principal port, Walvis Bay, is well positioned to service the entire southern Africa region and especially well located to service the rapidly growing Angolan market. In addition to accessibility, efficiency and low crime, it is closer to North America and Europe than any rival South African ports such as Durban and Cape Town and less congested as well. It is also hundreds of kilometers closer to markets in Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Angola via rail and well-maintained hard surface highways. Namibia’s sea and land connections are complemented by its role as a regional air hub. With flights to Johannesburg, Cape Town, Luanda, Ondjiva, Gaborone, Maun, Harare, Victoria Falls, Lusaka and Accra, Namibia also offers direct flights to Frankfurt and Munich – and beyond, via Johannesburg.
The main commercial agriculture activities include fish and fish processing, livestock farming and production of table grapes. There is also potential for extensive horticulture products such as olive oil and dates. The Namibian government actively encourages processing of agricultural products.
Mariculture, primarily oyster farming, has the potential to grow rapidly. Namibian oysters grow to market size in nine to 15 months compared to about three years in other areas. They are also known for their superior quality in terms of taste and size.
Additional data and statistics on the Namibian economy are available below:
• Bank of Namibia – As Namibia’s central Bank, the Bank of Namibia maintains all of the key indicators on the Namibian economy and trade, and they tend to provide the most up-to-date information available online.
• Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority (NAMFISA) – NAMFISA regulates and supervises non-banking financial institutions in Namibia, and has some publications which may be useful to potential investors.
• 2012 Country Commercial Guide – Namibia – this document, prepared annually by the Economic and Commercial staff at the U.S. embassy in Namibia, provides an excellent overview of the Namibian economy and considerations for potential investors. Chapter 6, the Investment Climate Statement, may be particularly helpful.
• 2013 Investment Climate Statement - see Country Commercial Guide. The Investment Climate Statement is typically completed ahead of the Country Commercial Guide.
• Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) – The IPPR is an economic research organization that independently analyzes the Namibian economy and trends, and acts as a sort of watchdog group. They regularly provide useful reports for download.
• Namibian Stock Exchange – The Namibian Stock Exchange is one of the largest stock exchanges on the African continent. This is their website.
• Ministry of Trade and Industry – Investment Guide – This is the Namibian government’s take on investment opportunities in Namibia. Well worth a read, even if it is a bit dated.
• Ministry of Finance – a useful resource for researching legislation that may impact investors and businesses. Relatively well maintained.
• Central Bureau of Statistics – Namibian central statistics and the organizations that maintain them continue to evolve; this is one website that may be helpful.
• Department of State Background Notes (Namibia)
• Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry – A well-maintained website that provides a variety of data representing the private sector in Namibia, an important component of the Namibian economy.
• Namibia Trade Directory – The Namibia Trade Directory, maintained by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, functions as a sort of “who’s who” of Namibian business. A digital copy may be downloaded from this website.
• Economist Intelligence Unit - Namibia – Economist magazine publishes online data about many countries including Namibia. This site may not be accessible by all users, and sometimes requires users to select “countries”, then “Namibia.”
• Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI) report for Namibia – the Bertelsmann Transformation Index takes a detailed and multi-dimensional look at Namibia. This is their country report.
• World Bank Statistics – provides all of the major economic and social indicators for Namibia.
• World Bank Doing Business Report 2012 – Detailed look at what it takes to do business in Namibia, with global and regional rankings, and explanations.
• Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom - Namibia – in-depth analysis of Namibia’s economy, and the factors which make it free (or not).
• Transparency International Corruption Perception Index – The corruption index ranks countries on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be.
Treaties & Agreements
• SACU - Namibia is a member of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). SACU ensures the free movement of goods among its members, namely Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and South Africa. SACU website: http://www.sacu.int/.
• SACU-EFTA Free Trade Agreement – This agreement was concluded in 2004.
• SADC Protocol on Trade – Namibia is a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). This agreement was concluded in 1999.
• SACU-Mercosur Preferential Trade Agreement - This Agreement was signed in December 2004 and renewed/revised in 2008 but has not yet been ratified by all the member states. Botswana has ratified, and the PTA has been introduced in Namibian Parliament in late 2011. The Mercusor members are Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. SACU website: http://www.sacu.int/.
• SACU-USA Trade, Investment and Development Cooperation Agreement - This agreement was concluded in 2008. SACU website: http://www.sacu.int/.
• AGOA - Namibia benefits from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a unilateral and non-reciprocal program that provides African countries with duty-free access to the US market for more than 6,400 products. For more information on AGOA, visit: http://www.agoa.gov/.
• Namibia-Zimbabwe FTA – This agreement provides for goods grown, produced or manufactured in Namibia to be imported into Zimbabwe free of customs duties and vice versa. All goods must be accompanied by a certificate of origin issued by the Ministry of Finance.
• SADC – The Southern African Development Community (SADC) aspires to create an integrated regional economic bloc among its member states of Namibia, Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. SADC has a population of over 190 million people. The SADC FTA was launched by 12 countries out of 14 SADC members (excluding Angola and DRC) in 2008. For more information, visit http://www.sadc.int/.
• Cotonou Agreement – Namibia is part of the African Caribbean Pacific (ACP)-European Union Partnership Agreement, which grants non-reciprocal preferential access to the EU market for some ACP products. Under the Cotonou Agreement, Namibia benefits from a minimum levy on beef exports and an annual quota of 13,000 tons. However, this benefit expires at the end of 2012. To learn more, visit http://ec.europa.eu/development/body/cotonou/agreement_en.htm
• Namibia also has bilateral agreements with Angola, Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Cuba, Ghana, India, Malaysia and Russia.
U.S. Embassy Namibia
14 Lossen Street
Tel.: + 264 61 295 8500
Fax: + 264 61 295 8603
Economic / Commercial Officer
Tel.: + 264 61 295 8549
All downloadable documents on this page are provided in PDF format. To view PDFs you must have a copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader. You may download a free version by clicking the link above.