Namibia's economy is estimated to have grown by 4,9 per cent last year, better than the 4,2 per cent projected by Finance Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila in her Budget speech in March.
Statistician General, John Steytler described the 4,9 per cent, released on Tuesday as part of the Preliminary National Accounts for 2000-2011, as "quite respectable" given the global economic situation. In 2010, Namibia's gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 6,6 per cent. Steytler said economic growth was driven by the secondary and tertiary industries last year, recording growth of 4,2 per cent and 4,4 per cent respectively.
"The secondary industries growth was mainly driven by the construction sector. This can mainly be attributable to the construction works in the public sector," he said. The primary industries, on the other hand, recorded a marginal decline of 0,9 per cent during 2011.
Steytler said the mining and quarrying sector, registering a decline of 8,5 per cent, was the main reason for the poor performance of the primary sector. Mining and quarrying suffered due to lower uranium and diamond mining.
"Real value added by the uranium sub-sector fell by 27,3 per cent during the year under review, while output in the diamond sub-sector declined by 2,6 per cent," he said. Construction was the leading sector during 2011, recording a growth of 16,1 per cent in real value added.
"This positive performance emanated from a significant increase in construction works carried out in the electricity and water sector, as well as general Government construction activities due to a deliberately more relaxed policy stance to stimulate economic activities," Steytler said.
The statistician said low interest rates led to more commercial building activities contributing to the construction boom. The value of buildings completed increased by 21,7 per cent during the year under review.The economy slowed down towards the end of 2011, with annual growth estimated at 2,6 per cent compared to seven per cent recorded in the third quarter.
"However, on a quarter to quarter basis, the quarterly GDP registered a growth of 10,9 per cent compared to 0,7 per cent recorded in the fourth quarter of 2010," Steytler said.
He attributed the improved performance over the year to mining and quarrying growing 32,8 per cent, and fisheries improving by 18,9 per cent.