Namibia has dropped one place on the Global Competitiveness Report with a ranking of 100 out of 140 countries.
The report said Namibia is the 6th most competitive economy in Sub-Saharan Africa behind Mauritius (49), South Africa (67), Seychelles (74), Botswana (90) and Kenya (93).
Except for Seychelles that moved up 10 places compared to 2017, other countries lost ground in competitiveness: South Africa (-5), Botswana (-5), Namibia (-1).
There are no results for Mauritius and Kenya for 2017.
Namibia ranked best in the pillar ‘labour market’ (39), followed ‘financial system’ (47) and ‘institutions’ (51).
The country is lagging behind in terms of ‘business dynamics’ and ‘market size’ (both 121), health (117) and ‘ICT adoption’ (105).
Namibia’s good ranking in the ‘labour market’ pillar is supported by the labour tax rate (rank 8), redundancy costs (rank 29) and workers’ rights (rank 32), while insurance premiums as percent of GDP (rank 13) and non-performing loans (rank 19), and support the positive ranking of the country’s financial system.
Namibia performed well in the pillar ‘institutions’ regarding the efficiency of the legal framework and press freedom (both rank 24), budget transparency and judicial independence (both rank 27) as well as property rights (rank 31), while the homicide rate (rank 128), e-participation (116) and quality of land administration (110) , are dragging the ranking down.
Namibia ranked low in terms of life expectancy (rank 116), time to start a business (135), quality of research institutions (111), insolvency regulatory framework (110), as well as in indicators related to internet uses (between 101 and 103).
The GCI is based on 12 pillars: Institutions, Infrastructure, ICT adoption, Macro-economic stability, Health, Skills, Product markets, Labour market, financial system, Market size, Business dynamics and Innovation capacity, which are similar to the previous sub-pillars under the three main pillars.
Namibia is the ninth most competitive countries on the African continent, since three North African countries are ranked better: Tunisia (87), Algeria (92) and Egypt (94).
Commenting on the report, Klaus Schade, research associate - Economic Association of Namibia said although Namibia improved her scores, while better ranked countries such as South Africa and Botswana lost some ground, and slipped only one place compared to other African countries that ended up much lower, more efforts are needed to turn around the loss of competitiveness and catch up with other countries on the continent.
“Despite the launch of the NamBizOne portal and the establishment of the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA), business registration remains cumbersome and time consuming.
New technologies are hardly applied and business persons have to drop hard copies of application and registration forms still at various institutions instead of emailing soft copies including proof of payment to a one-window institution,” said Schade.
He said more also needs to be done to improve ICT skills and access to fast ICT services in the country that are vital for businesses to compete on a regional and global scale and to attract domestic and foreign direct investment.
“New technologies, such as renewable energy sources, provide an opportunity to accelerate access to electricity and hence to ICT services, which will open new business opportunities. Private investment into these sectors should therefore receive much stronger support, which would in turn reduce the reliance on public funds,” he said.
Schade said some of Namibia’s weaknesses are relatively low hanging fruits that could be turned around in a short period of time. He said this includes hiring of foreign labour, while others in the area of health and education in particular need longer-term and implementable strategies.