Trade with Africa reaches N$113b

By Hilary Mare

NAMIBIA’S intra-Africa trade and tariff report recently released by the Trade Law Centre has revealed that in 2018, Namibia exported and imported goods to and from the rest of Africa to the value of N$34.8 billion (US$2.4 billion) and N$78.3 billion (US$5.4 billion), respectively.

In essence, intra-Africa exports account for 32 percent of Namibia’s total exports and imports for 65 percent of total imports for 2018.

“Between 2017 and 2018, Namibia’s intra-Africa exports increased by 8 percent, while intra-Africa imports increased by 19 percent. The increase in intra-Africa imports can mainly be attributed to a significant increase in imports from Zambia.

“All major export products from Namibia, except exports of semi-manufactured gold (a decline of 33 percent) increased between 2017 and 2018. Imports of refined copper increased by 335 percent, while imports of diamonds and goods vehicles declined by 19 percent and 3 percent respectively,” the report, which is the 22nd of its kind, stated.

Namibia’s main intra-Africa export products are diamonds, semi-manufactured gold, frozen fish and live animals. The top 10 intra-Africa export products account for 72 percent of Namibia’s total exports to other African countries.

19 percent of Namibia’s intra-Africa imports are unrefined copper, 7 percent motor vehicles (goods and passenger vehicles), 6 percent diamonds and 6 percent petroleum oils (not crude). The top 10 intra-Africa import products account for 44 percent of Namibia’s total imports from other African countries.

“Namibia mainly trades with neighbouring South Africa; in 2018, 61 percent of Namibia’s total intra-Africa trade (exports + imports) was with South Africa. However, between 2017 and 2018, Namibia’s trade with South Africa declined by 1.2 percent, while trade with Zambia doubled.

“Other main African trading partners, in terms of Namibia’s total intra-Africa trade are Zambia (18 percent), Botswana (13 percent) and DRC (2 percent),” further explained the report.

Namibia mainly exports to SACU and/or SADC member states. 76 percent of intra-Africa exports are to South Africa and Botswana, while 19 percent of intra-Africa exports are to Zambia, DRC and Angola.

68 percent of Namibia’s intra-Africa imports are sourced from South Africa, 22 percent from Zambia and 6 percent from Botswana. Of the main African source markets only Tunisia (accounting for 1 percent of Namibia’s total intraAfrica imports) is not a SACU and/or SADC member state.

Intra-Africa import tariffs

The report also noted that most of the goods imported into Namibia from other SADC member states enter duty-free.

“The only exceptions are wheat flour, sugar, second-hand clothes and tyres. Although the applied duty for wheat flour imports from SADC member states is zero, there are currently no SADC Rules of Origin on wheat flour. This means that wheat flour originating from SADC and imported into Namibia is levied the MFN applied duty of 73.61c/kg. Sugar imports, raw and refined face a specific duty of 401.79c/kg, while the duty on second-hand clothes varies depending on the tariff line (20 percent ad valorem, 35c/unit, 50c/unit and 60 percent or 2500c/kg).”

African imports from outside SACU and SADC are levied the MFN applied duty. The MFN applied duty is the SACU Common External Tariff (CET).

“Namibia’s highest ad valorem import duties are levied on imports of whole frozen chicken (82 percent), prepared or preserved pineapples (55 percent duty), tobacco cigarettes (45 percent), tobacco substitute cigarettes and cigars (45 percent), water-pipe tobacco (45 percent) clothing items (40 percent and 45 percent), retreaded tyres (43 percent) and uncooked pasta not containing eggs (40 percent). At the HS8 level, the SACU CET has 7927 tariff lines,” concluded the report.