Nam GDP growth down to 2 per cent

26 Jan 2017 19:00pm
WINDHOEK, 26 JAN (NAMPA) - Namibia’s estimated Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth for 2016 was 2 per cent or even less, compared to the 4,4 per cent of growth recorded in 2015.
Minister of Finance, Calle Schlettwein announced on Thursday at a media briefing that the 2 per cent should not raise alarm, given weak commodity prices and prevailing drought conditions.
“Last year, our small open economy faced a difficult environment such as low regional economic and trade performance, especially for our main trade partners of South Africa and Angola; depressed commodity prices and severe drought.”
These shocks to the regional and domestic economy had their negative effect on public revenue, he said.
In spite of the challenging economic environment, Schlettwein said Namibia should take pride in the fact that they are one of the few economies that have brought about a consistent reduction in income inequalities and poverty through growth and targeted policy interventions.
The preliminary 2015/2016 Income and Expenditure Survey demonstrated a reduction in income inequalities and poverty, with the Gini coefficient sliding to 0,572 from 0,597 in 2009/2010.
Gini coefficient is statistical measurement of income inequality, with zero representing perfect equality and one (1) representing perfect inequality.
Schlettwein said the prospects for 2017 are moderately promising with commodity prices, both for metal and non-metal commodities, showing signs of recovery, which augurs well for the generality of the mining sector.
Equally, he said, early rain offer good prospects for the agricultural sector, but the rain volume to date only calls for courteous optimism.
He said activity in the tourism sector remained strong on the back of a supportive currency and attractiveness of the tourist destination.