Namibia - Country Commercial Guide
Market Opportunities

Overview of best prospect sectors, major infrastructure projects, significant government procurements and business opportunities.

Last published date: 2020-08-29

Namibia imports almost all of its consumer goods and most of its primary resources are exported, largely unprocessed.  Opportunities exist to introduce new consumer goods and to expand manufacturing for both local and international markets.    

Namibia is an eligible country under the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA).  AGOA allows for duty-free access to U.S. markets for more than 6,400 products.   For information on AGOA, please consult:  www.agoa.gov.
 
In 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) added Namibia to the list of countries eligible to export meat and meat products to the United States.  FSIS determined that Namibia’s laws, regulations, and inspection system are equivalent to the U.S. laws, regulations, and food safety system with regard to meat and meat products.  In March 2020, Namibia became the first African country to export beef to the United States.  State-owned Meatco is approved to export 860 tons of high-quality chilled and frozen various beef cuts to the United States in 2020, rising to 5,000 tons by 2025.  Namibia’s beef exports benefit from AGOA.

Tourism is one of the country’s dominant industries and provides significant employment opportunities.  Namibia is a nature-based tourism destination with spectacular scenery, including a wide variety of wildlife, the world’s oldest desert, the world’s tallest sand dunes, and community-based nature conservancies.  The global COVID-19 pandemic and resulting travel restrictions have significantly disrupted Namibia’s tourism and hospitality sectors.     

Namibia has historically imported more than half of its electricity from South Africa and other neighboring countries.  As demand continues to outstrip supply in the region, Namibia is investing in new power generation and transmission capabilities. The national electricity regulator, the Electricity Control Board (ECB), has developed an independent power producer framework (IPP) and is keen to attract foreign investors that can service the domestic and/or regional market.  A Modified Single Buyer policy was introduced in 2019, and it allows large electricity customers to buy up to 30 percent of their demand directly from an IPP rather than from the state-owned electricity utility, Nampower.    

Namibia has great potential for renewable power generation, including from solar, wind, and biomass sources.  The government has stated it is committed to promoting the use of renewable energy to complement conventional electricity supplies, and has been adding renewable energy generation sources to its grid.     

Namibia has a wealth of natural resources including uranium, diamonds, gold, zinc, lithium, cobalt, and copper, which are the primary sources of foreign exchange earnings.  According to the World Nuclear Association, Namibia is the world’s fourth-largest producer of uranium oxide.  There are opportunities for companies that provide equipment and services to mining operators.    

Namibia’s principal port, Walvis Bay, is well positioned to service the entire southern African region.  In 2019, an expansion was completed that increased the port’s capacity to 750,000 TEUs (twenty foot equivalent units) per year, up from 350,000 TEU.  In addition to benefits from increased accessibility and efficiency, the port at Walvis Bay is closer to North America and Europe and less congested than rival South African ports at Durban and Cape Town.  The port at Walvis Bay is similarly closer to markets in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Angola via rail and well-maintained hard-surface highways.    
  
Namibia’s main commercial agriculture activities include fish and fish processing, livestock farming, and production of high value crops such as dates and table grapes. The Namibian government actively encourages processing of agricultural products in Namibia.

The government is seeking to attract foreign investors to participate in public-private partnerships (PPPs), particularly in the health, transportation, and housing sectors.  A law to facilitate PPPs was passed in 2017 and implementation is ongoing.