Govt looks to value addition to improve Namibia’s employment, FDI drive

Namibia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah says the export of value-added goods will go a long way in boosting the country’s foreign direct investment inflows and employment.

Nandi-Ndaitwah said this during the 9th Heads of Mission Conference underway in Windhoek, where she said the gathering is an opportunity to discuss how Namibia should position herself in what has become a rapidly competitive and unstable world.

"We have a challenge of high unemployment, especially among the youth. The question therefore is, how do we turn our challenges into opportunities? This is where your work as our representatives abroad becomes even more important in terms of attracting much-needed foreign direct investment in order to move away from the exporter of raw materials to exporting value-added goods, thereby creating high paying jobs for our youth," said Nandi-Ndaitwah.

"Namibia’s economy is heavily dependent on the extractive sector. We export raw materials at low prices and import finished goods at high prices. As a result, we are highly vulnerable to external shocks. Furthermore, we are highly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change because our country is home to two deserts with land degradation at an alarming rate."

In addition, Nandi-Ndaitwah said there is a need to discuss the nexus between the fight against climate change and the exploitation of the recently discovered oil and gas.

She said the nexus should be done with an emphasis on how to position Namibia as an energy hub for both clean energy and fossil fuels, including how to maximise the opportunities presented by the global demand for clean energy.

"At this conference, we shall identify and discuss the kind of problems we are facing today and come up with ideas and strategies on how to navigate through this ever-changing world we live in, which has no doubt become more competitive and fuller of uncertainties than ever before," she stated.

She therefore said, the Heads of Mission should aggressively dedicate a significant amount of time to geopolitical trends and how those trends stand to influence Namibia's policy on international relations and cooperation.

According to Nandi-Ndaitwah, the shift among major powers from cooperation towards competition has given rise to another trend of shifting from trade liberalism to trade protectionism.

"The question therefore is, how do we as a country navigate this competitive world to maximise benefits for the development of our country without necessarily undermining our national security and stability? Because of the major powers competing, we are also seeing a growing shift away from multilateralism towards unilateralism. We are seeing major powers pursuing unilateral policies aimed at maximising their powers at the expense of others and the international system that has preserved peace since the end of the Second World War," she remarked.

Furthermore, she said it was the work of the ambassadors abroad to become key in attracting investors to grow the agricultural sector.

"History has also taught us many global lessons. Among others, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine revealed how dependency on food imports can have severe consequences on national food security. Therefore, we need to strengthen our capacity to feed ourselves and reduce the heavy dependence on food imports," she reiterated.

Nandi-Ndaitwah also highlighted the importance of technology, saying it is reshaping the world at an unprecedented speed.

"I therefore want to underscore the fact that as Ambassadors you are our eyes and ears abroad and we need you to keep us abreast of what you see and hear in your countries of accreditation. As I just said, with the advancement of technology, information is travelling at an unparalleled speed, which means that you must report fast and in real time on developments in your countries. I don’t want to rely on TV and social media to know what is happening in your countries. I want to hear elaborative information from you.”






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Last modified on Tuesday, 31 October 2023 19:06

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