Namibia wishes for presence in ECOWAS

20 Oct 2018 14:30pm
By Anna Salkeus
ACCRA, 20 OCT (NAMPA) – Namibia wishes to have presence in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Deputy Director at the Namibia Investment Centre in the Ministry Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development (MITSMED) Hendrina Mboti said.
She said this during a meeting with the Ghanaian Ministry of Trade and Industry here Thursday.
ECOWAS is a regional economic union of fifteen countries located in West Africa.
Mboti noted that Ghana had one of the fastest growing economies on the African continent, thus Namibia could make use of the country to access other countries, while learning from its small-scale industries such as textiles and garments.
Mboti added that although the Namibian population stood at around 2.4 million people, it was a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) economic bloc, which has a population of over 300 million people. Therefore, Ghana could also use Namibia as its gateway through the Port of Walvis Bay to access the SADC market.
“Ghana has been hailed for having a high number of women-owned businesses commanding about 46,5 per cent of businesses that are operating in Ghana,” she said, noting that Namibian women could learn how to start their businesses using Ghana’s concept of running rural markets.
In terms of value addition, Mboti said the country sought collaboration with Ghana to add value to the country’s natural resources to grow both economies and create job opportunities for mutual benefit.
Furthermore, Namibia could import cocoa from the West African country which is the third-largest producer, to boost the country’s chocolate production that is still at infant stage.
“We also have products that are equivalent to your crops which can be used for cosmetic purposes, like Marula oil and Oshipe that can be used as sunscreen. You can add our products to your cocoa to give a different flavour and Namibia could do the same by mixing cocoa butter with Marula oil,” she said.
She highlighted that charcoal was also one area Namibia could collaborate in, whereby Ghana could be the country’s gateway for charcoal products to reach further north in Africa.
Meanwhile, Ghana’s Director for Export in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ebo Quaison indicated that Ghana last year launched an industrial transformation agenda, which is anchored on several programmes.
One is the national industrialisation revitalisation addressing industrial establishments in the country that are financially or commercially viable but operationally distressed and needing support from the government.
Another programme, the ‘One District, One Factory’ concept seeks to bring in industrialisation to the doorsteps of Ghanaians and take advantage of the natural resource endowments of each district in the country.
Quaison said the delegation could look at the entry points of each programme, to see where Namibia could tap into.
“The private public dialogue initiative was also established. We have realised that many businesses have come in and for years we have not had a structured mechanism to interact,” he said.
He explained that an investor who invests in one of the country’s sectors like pharmaceuticals, would have an interaction on a quarterly basis with the minister or deputy minister of trade to share their problems and get feedback.
The Namibian and Ghana trade ministries will continue to explore trade opportunities presented during the meeting while a memorandum of understanding will be signed at a later stage, it was said.