Namibia’s trade deficit narrowed by 18 percent or N$5,5 billion in 2017 to reach N$24 billion compared to N$29 billion recorded in 2016, the Namibia Statistics Agency’s 2017 trade statistics figures show.
While it appears the tough economic environment could have contributed to the decline, the Bank of Namibia’s drive to encourage Namibians to stop importing goods like luxury cars as it was eating to the foreign reserves also contributed.
The stock of foreign reserves declined at the end of January 2018 by N$1.8 billion to reach N$28.3 billion during January.
During 2017, Namibia’s overall exports amounted to N$63 billion and imports stood at N$87 billion.
Namibia mostly exported to South Africa, Botswana, Switzerland, China and Belgium, which absorbed a combined 58 percent of the value of all goods exported by Namibia. On the other hand, the domestic economy heavily relied on South Africa, Bulgaria, Botswana, China and Zambia for about 79 percent of its import needs.
The statistics showed that exports were mostly dominated by categories of diamonds, gold, precious metals, fish, ores, copper blisters and zinc, accounting for 73 percent of the exports.
The imports were mostly led by mineral fuel and oils, vehicles, machinery, ores, diamond, gold and precious metals, accounting for 43 percent of total exports. In relation to regional groupings, Namibia’s exports were largely absorbed by the Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU) at 39 percent of total exports, while a 24 percent contribution was to the EU and 14 percent contribution by the European Free Trade Association (EFTA.)
Imports into the country, were mostly sourced from SACU, which accounted for 66 percent of overall imports, with the EU coming in a distant second place with 14 percent of the imports.
Other imports came from BRIC countries, which contributed nine percent, whereas COMESA and SADC-Non-SACU made up six percent of domestic imports.
“Sea transportation remained the most used mode for transport for exports, with 44 percent of the total exports and 33 percent via air transports, while road transported 23 percent of the value of all goods exported,” the agency said.
By contrast, road transport was the most used mode of transport; accounting for a staggering 62 percent of imports to Namibia, coming in second place was sea transportation with 31 percent of total imports.
“This is about double the size of the contribution made by road transport. Meanwhile, air transport came in a distant third place with meagre six percent contribution,” the agency said.