The Namibian ministry of trade and industry is preparing a draft framework for bilateral agreement between Ethiopia and Namibia due to be sent to the Ethiopian government. The agreement is expected to be signed sometime this year.
According to Jesaya Nyamu, minister at the ministry of trade and industry of Namibia, the draft is all about a general agreement at large, which describes detail implementations of specific areas of trade activities between the two countries.
Although political relations between the two parties had started soon after Namibia’s independence and Ethiopia had played a pivotal role in Namibia’s struggle for its freedom, no single trade agreement was signed before and Namibia “will do its level best to ensure that this agreement would be signed soon enough”.
Nyamu was speaking at a business discussion between Namibian delegates who came to attend the AU summit and officials of Ethiopia and Addis Ababa Chambers of Commerce.
He said Namibia, though a small country with a population of 1.8mn, is a country easy to do business with given the fast developing and favourable trade policies.
Speaking about trade policies adopted by his government, Nyamu said Namibia had finalised an agreement to establish a free custom area with South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. “Currently, Namibia is serving as a hub for movements of goods in the southern part of Africa,” he said, adding that goods sent through Namibia could reach out a large market in this part of Africa.
Namibia is also a country with good infrastructure development such as roads, railway links, telecommunication and electricity, which he said, would make a favourable investment opportunity. “What we need is a skilled human resource and strategic marketing system, which transfers the abundant resource into a production system,” Nyamu said.
The government of Namibia has introduced a special incentive for investors and manufactures, which includes among others tax exemption and establishment of a tax-free export process zone in a bid to encourage investment in the country. An investor could also get their business licence together with land and other facilities within a week’s wait.
Nyamu cited potential investment areas such as mining, fishery, tourism, agriculture and leather and leather products. He called for Ethiopian businesses to seize the prevailing investment opportunity. “We want Ethiopian businesses and architectures to engage in our country’s business activities,” he said, adding that there are already a few Ethiopian businessmen involved in various sectors.
Nyamu also discussed with chamber officials banking procedures, labour cost, tender recruitments and taxations. He suggested Ethiopian businesses to particularly consider coffee and tea production and vegetable exporting as Ethiopian businesses had extensive experiences in these areas. “Once a trade agreement is signed, Namibia would offer a special trade and investment treatments for countries.”