Noble Ncube, Business Reporter
TRADE promotion body, ZimTrade, has urged local companies to venture into the Namibian market because of good relations and proximity to that country.
According to a Namibia market survey carried out by the promotion body and was presented during a breakfast seminar at a Bulawayo hotel on Friday, ZimTrade said it recommended local firms to penetrate the Namibian market because both countries belonged to the same regional economic body — Sadc, which provides for duty free trade on defined products and has good infrastructure in the form of quality roads which easily facilitates movement of goods.
The report said opportunities for Zimbabwean companies to penetrate and export to the Namibian market were mostly in the construction industry, pharmaceuticals, leather products, veterinary products, professional services like in engineering, medical, hospitality and teaching sectors.
“Opportunities in the construction industry include sub-contracting for construction services in engineering, glazing, plastering and painting. There is a need of supply of construction materials like construction/reinforcement steel, door and window frames. Roof tiles, ceiling boards, door frames, window frames and cornices are also needed in Namibia,” reads the report.
Namibia is developing its infrastructure with the building of new shopping malls (like Grove Mall and Maerua Mall in Windhoek) and in other towns hence the opportunities in construction.
“In the pharmaceutical sector many pharmaceutical and medical centres are manned by Zimbabwe professionals and the Namibia Medicines Regulatory Council (NMRC). Exporters from Zimbabwe can supply hospitals and pharmacies through local distributors.
“Although essentially a cattle country, Namibia’s leather industry is not yet developed. Scope for niche markets for selected leather products like safari leather shoes, bags, belts, wallets, sandals and hats is open for local firms to penetrate,” said ZimTrade.
The report added that the implementation of the Fourth National Development Plan (NDP4) required skills beyond what Namibia can provide and this skills vacuum created opportunities for Zimbabwe professionals in the fields of engineering, medical services, artisanal skills and teachers.
ZimTrade said while Namibia was a cattle country, they could not easily raise pigs in the predominantly hot temperature, as a result this can be an opportunity for Zimbabwe farmers to export pork.
ZimTrade operations director Mr Allan Majuru said business must utilise the open market in Namibia to go parallel with that government’s NDP4 that prioritises manufacturing (mineral beneficiation and agro-fish processing), logistics, (transport, port facilities and construction), tourism and agriculture.
“We urge companies to utilise the opportunity spared by friendly relations and various duty free privileges to export and expand their businesses to Namibia. I strongly urge the pharmaceutical companies to penetrate the Namibian market because our process in terms of getting medication certified is thorough which means we have quality medicines.
“The proximity of Bulawayo to Namibia is also an added advantage for local companies as they will be able to reach even further markets like southern Angola and Okavango. In addition we also have a revamped trade and information centre in Bulawayo to help companies with knowledge about trade practices in the region,” he said.
The trade promotion body called for review of investment and trade policies that support private sector initiatives in accessing export markets.
It also encouraged stakeholders to observe quality when producing because quality was best preferred by the Namibian market.
Namibia and Zimbabwe signed a mutually Preferential Trade Agreement in 1992 which also facilitates duty free trade. There are two key routes into Namibia, through Caprivi Strip and via Botswana.