Namibia urged to grow in sectors that create jobs

Salomo Hei

Namibia should make a deliberate effort to invest in improving agriculture production and value chains, as well as target other sectors like construction to stimulate employment creation and improve economic growth, analysts say.

They are also calling on the country to find avenues to create more opportunities for local industries, primarily those in the construction industry.

This was said by economist Salomo Hei and senior statistician for national accounts at the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA), Titus Kamatuka, on Desert Radio recently while responding to trade statistics showing Namibia has achieved a gross domestic product (GDP) of 4,2% by the end of the 2023 financial year.

Hei said while this shows the economy is on a solid trajectory, more efforts need to be put into creating value chains in agriculture to reap the maximum benefits for the economy.

“In general these figures show the economy is doing pretty well and continues to grow. The key sectors that continue to do well include the mining sector, specifically the diamond industry, which continues to dominate.

“Reasonable growth has also been experienced in the tertiary industry. However, there are also sectors that did not do so well, and these include construction and agriculture,” he said.

The statistics also show there has been constant growth in the period under review, and this has been sustained for some time.

“This means the economy is doing pretty well, however, sectors like mining are more capital intensive and do not necessarily create jobs,” he said.

Commenting on the same issue, Kamatuka said Namibia also needs to look at possible avenues to expand the local manufacturing industry.

“There are quite a few low-hanging fruits in the manufacturing industry the country can tap into. One of them is to reduce the importation of certain goods that can be produced locally.

“For example, it will be important to see that some things, including the manufacturing of toothpicks and other smaller essentials, is done locally.

“Sectors such as tourism also have the potential to create the needed jobs in numbers and is definitely one the government can prioritise in terms of creating jobs.

“While it is important to see that the economy is growing, the most frequently asked question is why is the economy growing while there are no jobs? Many people still ask us this,” he said.

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