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Namibia and Tanzania identify areas of cooperation

Namibia hosted a business and investment forum in Windhoek, during which enhanced trade and investment opportunities were discussed with Tanzania.

Sectors identified for potential trade and investment included tourism, mining, infrastructure, finance, agriculture, and fisheries. The agricultural and fisheries sectors were particularly highlighted as promising areas for investment.

The special forum is viewed as a substantial step in strengthening the economic ties between the two nations, with a long-shared history dating back to Namibia’s liberation struggle.

The forum highlighted the importance of fostering economic collaboration, with Namibia currently importing a range of products from Tanzania, including maize, rice, vegetables, and spices.

Selma Namutuwa, Manager of Investment Attraction at the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB), emphasised the need for Namibia to explore export opportunities to Tanzania.

“Tanzania produces and exports raw materials such as cotton, textiles, and minerals. Namibia can greatly benefit from these resources by adding value through processing and manufacturing,” said John Mnali, Director of Investment Promotion from Tanzania.

Mnali invited Namibian businesses to explore investments and value-added opportunities in Tanzania.

During the forum, Patrick Mongella, Managing Director of the Cereals and Other Produce Board of Tanzania, noted Tanzania’s favourable weather conditions that allow for year-round farming.

“All crops can grow throughout the year because weather is not a constraint,” Mongella said.

He also informed participants about the vast underutilised land available for agricultural production, presenting significant opportunities for Namibian investors.

Despite the strong bilateral relationship, Tanzanian High Commissioner to Namibia, Ceasar Waitara, acknowledged the need for greater economic growth.

Tanzania and Namibia have a skewed trade balance, with Namibia importing nearly N$60 million worth of goods from Tanzania in 2023 and Namibia exporting less than N$20 million.

The food industry was also identified as an important area for investment, actively promoting it alongside Namibia’s agricultural focus on dates, blueberries, and grapes.

Furthermore, Tanzania is Namibia’s second-largest livestock supplier, demonstrating the potential for agricultural collaboration.

The forum also discussed infrastructure investment as a crucial element for economic development.

The NIPDB’s Executive Director of Investment and Sector Development, Francois van Schalkwyk, emphasised the importance of infrastructure investment and envisioned these forums as stepping stones for building stronger bilateral relationships.

Van Schalkwyk identified oil and gas and the green economy as promising sectors within Namibia’s economy.

He stressed that Namibia aims not only to extract natural resources but also to add value through processing and value addition, welcoming investments focused on these areas.

The tourism sector was another focus of the forum, where participants advocated for a single African visa regime to facilitate easier movement between countries and boost tourism.

He commended Namibia’s implementation of a visa-upon-arrival policy for many African countries as a positive step towards promoting tourism investment.

He, however, also pointed out the challenge of limited airlift connectivity within Africa, calling for streamlined licensing processes for potential investors in the aviation sector

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