Windhoek-Namibia has significantly narrowed its trade deficit with other African countries from N$4.8 billion in June 2021 to N$3.2 billion in July 2021 at a time when leaders in the continent are pushing for intra- Africa trade.
The narrowed trade deficit between Namibia and other countries gives impetus to the notion of Continental Free Trade Area which was signed by African Union member states last year to create one of the largest single markets for African goods.
“Exports decreased by N$737 million to N$1.9 billion and imports decreased by N$2.3 billion to N$5.1 billion while trade with Europe saw deficit decreased from N$1 billion in June 2021 to N$301 million in July 2021,” the Namibian Statistics Agency Statistician General Alex Shimuafeni has said.
Shimuafeni said the latest trade statistics in the Southern African country shows that exports to Europe decreased by N$88 million to N$1.3 billion and imports rose by N$651 million to N$1 billion while trade with Asia saw the deficit narrowing from N$2.6 billion in June 2021 to N$347 million July 2021. Exports declined significantly (by N$2.9 billion) to N$1.1 billion and imports fell by N$637 million to N$730 million and engagement with the Americas saw the deficit decrease from N$1.5 billion in June 2021 to N$118 million in July 2021.
“For the month of July 2021, the export bill for Namibia amounted to N$4.8 billion down by 49.4 percent from June 2021 while the import bill stood at N$7.9 billion down by 23.1 percent from June 2021. Thus resulting in a trade deficit of N$3.2 billion. The widening trade deficit from N$902 million in June 2021 was due to a decline in exports of mineral products (copper, precious stones-diamonds), and fish. While imports saw a decline in copper, petroleum oils, precious stones-diamonds, copper ores and concentrates and; motor vehicles,” Shimuafeni said.
The NSA said Namibia’s total merchandise trade slowed to N$12.7 billion, a decline of 35.7 percent and 23.6 percent when compared to the levels of N$19.7 billion and N$16.6 billion recorded in June 2021 and July 2020, respectively.
However, the country’s trade balance remained in a deficit amounting to N$3.2 billion from a deficit of N$902 million recorded in June 2021 and N$3.4 billion obtained in July 2020.
“Namibia’s trade composition by partner illustrated that South Africa emerged as Namibia’s largest market for both exports and imports. The composition of the export basket mainly comprised of minerals such as copper, precious stones (diamonds), non-monetary gold as well as ores and concentrates of base metals,” Shimuafeni said.
He said fish remained the only non-mineral product among the top five exports.
“On the other hand, the import basket comprised mainly of copper, petroleum oils, ores of precious metals, precious stones (diamonds), and medicaments. The July 2021 trade figures indicated that re-exports took a dive, falling by 28.6 percent month-on-month and 21.2 percent year-on-year. Important to note is that copper appears as the most dominant commodity on both trade flows indicating the vital role the country plays as a major logistics hub for SADC,” he said.
The NSA said the country’s Walvis Bay is the main border post for goods exported while Ariamsvlei was the main entry point for goods imported during the period under review.