Trade Minister bemoans lack of value additionBy: STAFF REPORTER
TRADE and Industry Minister Hage Geingob says Namibia's mining sector is highly vulnerable to the world commodity price fluctuations because its minerals are mostly exported in raw form.
Geingob was speaking in Berlin, Germany, on Thursday at a conference on 'Sustainable Raw Materials Industry and Development Policy'.
He was invited by the German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development and shared a platform with the Development Bank's (DBN) CEO David Nuyoma and the chairman of the Ohorongo group, Gerhard Hirth.
Geingob said exporting Namibia's minerals in a raw form is problematic, because it does not promote economic growth, create jobs, diversify the economy or promote local value addition.
“An economy that is focused almost exclusively on the extraction of resources with only limited manufacturing and value addition is highly vulnerable to the vitality of world commodity prices and market vagaries,” he told the gathering of more than 200 people.
The meeting brought together high-level participants from government, business, civil society and development organisations. Geingob said Namibia has a sound regulatory framework in which any international investor can thrive. Emphasising the importance of the mining sector, he said, raw materials form the basis of modern industries and to ensure the sustainable use and supply of these materials there must be an equitable and mutually beneficial partnership between resource-exporting and resource-importing countries.
The DBN’s Nuyoma said mutual benefit is the foundation of sustainable and successful investment.
Benefits that can be enjoyed by countries such as Namibia, which host international mining companies, are technology and skills transfer, direct participation in investment projects and local procurement. But in most instances this does not happen.
Germany has so far concluded raw materials partnerships with resource-rich countries such as Mongolia and Kazakhstan and prospects for Namibia to seal such a deal with Germany are good.
Geingob also visited other German institutions and met with his German counterpart, Kirk Niebel. These meetings were aimed at strengthening relations between Namibia and Germany, particularly in the areas of trade and investment.