Namibians should take advantage of Africa free trade area

28 Jun 2015 16:30pm
WINDHOEK, 28 JUN (NAMPA) – Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila on Friday called on Namibians to take advantage of the COMESA-EAC-SAC Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) launched recently.
Namibia is part of 26 states that signed the TFTA agreement.
The Heads of State and Government of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) met on 10 June this year in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt at the Tripartite Summit to officially launch the TFTA.
The TFTA will stretch from Cape Town, South Africa to Cairo, Egypt creating an integrated market with a combined population of almost 600 million people and a total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of about US$1 trillion.
“This is an exciting trade and infrastructure development in Africa at the moment but it depends on whether the parties to the arrangement see this as an opportunity or threat,” said Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.
She was speaking during the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (NCCI) annual gala dinner under the theme “Agenda 2020: Enhancing Namibia’s competitiveness through innovation and improved service delivery”.
This trade and infrastructure development, the premier said, would require bold decisions to improve the country’s competitiveness and innovation capacity in a fast-changing world.
She said industrialisation in Namibia will be driven by innovation, with due respect for the sustainability of the environment.
“The focus will be on the services and manufacturing sectors in areas where Namibia has a clear comparative advantage, namely logistics, tourism, manufacturing and agriculture,” said Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.
A competitive, diversified and economy that is more inclusive is essential to improve trade performance, the expansion and sustaining of job creation, and strengthening of revenue generation, she explained, adding that progress will require more collaborative partnership across the society.
“Our Government is working hard to remove obstacles to trade and investment, to create jobs and achieve inclusive growth. These efforts are already paying off,” said Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.
Namibia improved its global ranking from 92nd position in 2012/13, to 90th position in 2013/14, and to 88th position in 2014/15.
“We know there are still significant challenges to overcome in order to improve our competitive edge, since we still have to deal with inherent structural weaknesses, such as low quality of skills, inadequate access to finance, low productivity and inflexibility in the labour market,” she said.
It is, therefore, important for the public and private sector to work together for sustainable development at a national level, she stressed.
The competitiveness of local businesses is reliant on many factors.
“Your success is our success, because without a thriving business environment, Government would struggle to raise the necessary resources to run an effective state,” noted Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.