26 Jul 2016 19:40pm
WINDHOEK, 26 JUL (NAMPA) Namibia has some of the best investment policies in Africa, said founding President of African Graduate School of Management and Leadership in Ghana David Abdulai.
Presenting a paper on the topic of trade and investment during the review of Namibia's Foreign Policy in the capital on Tuesday, Abdulai noted that the country has good government policies that support foreign direct investment.
He said while the policies are well poised to enhance trade and investment for economic development in the country, Namibia need to diversify and encourage entrepreneurship.
We need to diversify the economy; that means moving beyond economic diplomacy which is connected to water diplomacy that is needed by investors in any field, implement smart affirmative action programmes and encourage young people to start up business in order to promote a knowledge-based economy.
Abdulai noted that these are some of the best ways of eradicating poverty and increasing export and import investment opportunities, but are hampered by some matters of administration.
He stressed that the tourism sector is important in the eradication of poverty but is mostly affected by the issue of visa requirements.
Abdulai explained that business people in this sector and tourists found it difficult to acquire visas for investment and visiting the country for tourism purposes.
Speaking at the same occasion, Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tara Shaanika acknowledged visa requirements as one of the challenges affecting the business community in the country.
We need a foreign policy that addresses the issue of trade and investment opportunity and allows business people to enter the large market in the world, Shaanika said.
He stressed that most embassies of African countries are located in Pretoria, South Africa, which is cumbersome for business people when applying for business or other types of visas.
Shaanika further noted that the business sector also encounters challenges of communication costs when doing business on the continent, adding that Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTC) subscribers visiting African countries roam at expensive rates.
He called on Government to push for cheaper communication costs or rates in Africa for business people to have access to low-cost Internet and call services.
Meanwhile, Associate Professor of International Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Geneva, Makane Mbengue noted that Namibia has been doing well compared to other African countries regarding the ratifications of bilateral investment treaties.
He said Namibia has 14 bilateral investment treaties and managed to ratify eight.
A bilateral investment treaty refers to agreement with terms and conditions for private investment by nationals and companies of one state in another; something that could be expanded on and attract foreign investment.
We need to have clear foreign investment policies to attract and increase foreign investors in the country, Mbengue said.
Namibias Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Management was adopted in 2004.
The conference ends Friday.