Namibia Needs to Improve Economic Competitiveness, EAN Chairman Says

Namibia Needs to Improve Economic Competitiveness, EAN Chairman Says

Since 2009/2010, Namibia — then ranked 74th in global competitiveness — hasn’t experienced (by the numbers) much economic progression. Though the country’s global competitiveness hasn’t changed dramatically, Economic Association of Namibia chairman Rowland Brown said it’s time the nation reconsidered its standing and potential, The Namibian reported.

This year (2013/2014), according to a report which outlined questionable pitfalls, Namibia fell to 90th in the global competitiveness ranking. In comparison to a pool of 148 countries total, Namibia’s 90th position ranking is an improvement from previous years, the report said.

“This suggests that while Namibia is not getting notably worse in terms of score, it is failing to reform at the same pace as many other economies,” Brown said. “As competitiveness is a relative concept, this is cause for concern. Namibia remains well placed, but if reform does not start to occur more rapidly, the country risks being left behind by her peers.”

Calle Schlettwein, Minister of Trade and Industry agreed that Namibia is moving in the right direction — albeit at a slower than desired pace. In addition, Namibia’s GDP analysis, he believes, needs more consideration as the “income distribution disparity” in Namibia continues to reach “high levels,” the report stated.

With an overall 3.9 rating, Schlettwein said that the country remains in the same position that it was in last year. The small ranking bump in global competitiveness, he offered, is a step forward for the country’s business community and policy makers.

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“Another factor worth considering is that Namibia is a net exporter of capital, and the GDP per capita measurement does not take into account the expatriation of part of the GDP through dividends and profits,” Schlettwein said. “The mismatch between actual FDI flows and the GDP based economic performance assessment that I have just referred to also tend to go contrary with the original notion of resource-seeking investment.”

“This is one of the top five problem areas hampering investments and business development in our country, according to the Global Competitiveness Report findings that the government fully agrees with, hence the establishment of the SME Bank and DBN, but more support is needed,” he continued.

According to The Namibian, Schlettwein also believes that developed countries which often top the global competitiveness ranking charts still rely on struggling countries to supply raw materials,  ultimately boosting their economic standings.