Namibia Country Profile
The overall goal of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Southern Africa Trade Hub (SATH) is to increase international competitiveness, intra-regional trade and food security in the Southern Africa region. With a team of long term regional and international experts based in Gaborone, Botswana, SATH delivers targeted technical assistance to governments, the private sector and civil society organizations in support of advancing regional integration and increasing the trade capacity of selected value chains within Southern Africa.
While the majority of SATH's activities are regional in nature, some activities specifically target Namibia as a direct beneficiary. Through various regional, national and cross-cutting initiatives, SATH is working with Namibia to reduce the costs of doing business, improve the investment climate, develop and implement a National Single Window and facilitate customs connectivity. Namibia also stands to benefit significantly from SATH's support for regional integration through the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and our work on the implementation of the United States (US)-Southern African Customs Union (SACU) Trade, Investment and Development and Cooperation Agreement (TIDCA).
SATH will be piloting a Regional Customs Connectivity program between Botswana and Namibia in July 2012 based on a Microsoft Cloud Computing platform. The pilot will provide for connectivity and data exchange between Namibian Customs and the Botswana Unified Revenue Service, eliminating the need for manual data entry, reducing opportunities for fraud and reducing the cost and time required for border clearance.
SATH is working with Namibian stakeholders on the potential development of a National Single Window. Namibia is currently ranked 142th out of 183 countries on the World Bank's Trading Across Borders Index. A Single Electronic Window, which connects all stakeholders in a single electronic data information exchange platform, has the potential to significantly increase this ranking and substantially reduce time and costs required for trade. In April 2012, SATH launched the first in a series of meetings in Namibia to develop this program.
An Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program and policy framework for risk management focuses customs resources on high risk transactions and minimizes the need for customs and other agency interventions on compliant/low-risk operators. Policy frameworks for risk management and AEOs as well as an action plan for implementation were completed for Namibia and now await government approval. Following approval, SATH will commence the training of relevant officials and follow up with an attachment program for Namibian officials at the South African Revenue Service (SARS).
Corridor Management Institutions (CMIs) are able to effectively monitor corridor performance and address non-tariff barriers (NTBs) along the corridor in a proactive manner. SATH successfully established the CMI for the Trans Kalahari Corridor (TKC) with public-private partnerships. As part of SATH focal Coast-to-Coast Corridor (C2C), SATH will continue to work with the CMI for the development of trade facilitation programming along the corridor.
Trade Facilitation Partnerships: In May 2012, SATH received funding through USAID's Trade Facilitation Partnership to support the Namibia's Ministry of Finance to review and redesign their website. The overall goal is to develop and modernize the site to ensure that comprehensive information on customs and related procedures is made publicly available. This activity will commence with a scoping exercise in June 2012.
Namibia Investor Roadmap: The Namibia Investor Roadmap developed by SATH is a tool to support government efforts in undertaking critical reforms that can spur investment. The Roadmap examines the individual procedures that represent the critical path to business startup and operations and creates an action plan to eliminate the red tape that imposes avoidable costs on investments. SATH continues to liaise with stakeholders in Namibia both on the implementation of recommendations from the Roadmap and more broad actions to improve the investment climate.
Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) of Namibian Road Transport Legislation: At the request of Namibia's Ministry of Transport, SATH will undertake an RIA on specific aspects of Namibia's transport legislation. The Ministry intends a complete review of the existing legislation which dates from 1977. SATH's program will include training of stakeholders and Ministry officials on the RIA process in addition to the development of the RIA. Liberalization of road freight transport is the primary focus of SATH's Trade in Services work, which aims to establish higher levels of secure, predictable access for SADC transport operators to the regional market.
Support to SADC Trade in Services Negotiations: SADC is currently proceeding with Trade in Services negotiations. SATH is offering targeted technical support for the tourism negotiations which will be among the first of six priority areas for negotiation. SATH will work with the Ministry of Trade and private sector tourism stakeholders to develop private sector positions on export market opportunities and constraints in the sector.
African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and African Women's Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP): SATH is working with the AWEP Namibia Chapter/House of Women to assess participation in export trade particularly under AGOA. In 2012, SATH will work with AWEP on the organization and provision of speakers on participation in trade shows at the August 2012 Namibia Women's Summit.
Effective Implementation of Regional Trade Agreements: As a member of both SADC and SACU, Lesotho benefits from SATH's work to ensure the effective implementation of regional trade agreements. SATH is currently engaged in a study with the SACU Secretariat to identify constraints to expanded SACU exports to the US under the TIDCA. A capacity building program to address identified obstacles in the SACU Member States will be developed.