Namibia is actively courting investment, particularly in the manufacturing sector. Speaking ahead of a number of Namibia-South Africa Business Seminars, the Commercial Counsellor at the High Commission of the Republic of Namibia's Commercial Office, Bonaventura Hinda, pointed out that manufacturers setting up facilities in Namibia benefit from investment incentives, as well as a modern communications infrastructure and a good roads network.

Namibia courts manufacture"Foreign manufacturers are already benefiting from Namibia's access to SADC countries, with some establishing facilities close to the border with Angola for example, so significantly improving transport time and reducing costs associated with the manufacture of goods for the Angolan market. In addition to Windhoek and Walvis Bay, Rundu in the Kavango-East Region, the north-eastern parts of the country and the coastal areas are developing fast," Hinda (seen here) says.

She adds that Namibia is working to step up power availability, with a particular focus on renewable energies and the potential for more power efficient technologies, to support industrialisation. "Businesses looking to expand or launch in Namibia can quickly and easily register their new entities, with the government availing industrial land and buildings at reasonable rates, and the country's business culture, currency and financial institutions are familiar to South Africans, making launching a business in Namibia relatively easy," says Hinda. "The biggest drawcards for investors are the fact that Namibia is a springboard into the rest of Africa, as well as its political and economic stability."

The country is currently on a drive to "to find friends all over the world", according to Namibian President Hage Geingob on a recent visit to the US. Seeking additional trade, investment and tourism
Geingob made the trip to the US following one to Cuba, with the American trip resulting in Namibian Minister of Health and Social Services Bernard Haufiku signin a memorandum of understanding with US health association UTHSC. The agreement calls for an exchange of nursing students and medical technicians.

With a relatively small market of 2.1 million people, Namibia's biggest appeal for investors lies not in trade, but in its potential to serve as a gateway to Africa and the rest of the world for industries such as manufacturers, according to Hinda, who adds that South Africa and Namibia have strong trade ties, with South African exports to Namibia topping R51.5 billion last year, and its imports from Namibia exceeding R8.4 billion in the same time frame.

She explains that while manufacturing is a key investment opportunity, there are also significant investment opportunities around the supply of manufacturing equipment and support infrastructure such as power, transport and logistics. There are also opportunities for companies offering artisan training and general skills training.

"With the Namibian government currently expanding our own infrastructure and addressing housing shortfalls, South African developers can also seek partnerships with Namibian construction firms to bid for large state building projects. And in the healthcare sector, the government is open to public private partnerships in the supply of medical equipment and pharmaceuticals and in healthcare delivery, presenting yet more opportunities for South African companies partnering with Namibian firms. Agriculture and agro-goods processing are a significant growth area in Namibia, with numerous opportunities for investment and business development," adds Hinda.

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