Namibia: Us Hails Namibian Charcoal

27 April 2021

Namibia recently sent a 350-ton consignment of locally-produced charcoal to the United States.

The export deal, between Africa Burns Charcoal, King Charcoal, and their US trading partner The Good Charcoal Company, is supported by the US government through the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

The hybrid launch event held in Windhoek a week ago, at which many participants joined virtually from the United States, marks the first-ever export of charcoal from Namibia directly to the US market.

US ambassador to Namibia Lisa Johnson and deputy minister of industrialisation Verna Sinimbo were amongst those who witnessed the event.

It also signals the commencement of a trade opportunity that could see Namibia export several thousand tons of premium-grade charcoal to the United States tariff-free each month.

Ambassador Johnson praised the new trade link with the United States, adding "The 'Forest Stewardship Council' has coined Namibian charcoal as 'the greenest charcoal on the planet', and the charcoal being sent to the United States is FSC-certified in terms of international standards for environmental, economic and social sustainability."

The Good Charcoal Company is enthusiastic to introduce this particular brand of sustainable charcoal to the US market. Namibian charcoal producers have worked for years to export to the US market, the biggest charcoal consumer in the world.

This first sample for export marks a milestone for the Namibian Charcoal Association (NCA) and its membership. NCA General Manager Michael Degé, speaking on behalf of the exporters Africa Burns Charcoal and King Charcoal, said "the support of development partners, including USAID, has been key in advancing charcoal as a priority sector for export, and the event today represents many months of efforts to meet the necessary entry requirements because we appreciate that the US market is key to this export growth."

This first export consignment of 350 tons of charcoal to the United States is valued at US$150 000 (over N$2 million).

If the US market is receptive to Namibian charcoal, the Good Charcoal Company intends to import a total of 165 000 tons of Namibian charcoal by September 2022, valued at over US$65 million (approximately N$950 million).

The trade deal is expected to have far-reaching impacts on the charcoal business in Namibia, including job-creation. The deal will have a positive socio-economic impact on communities where it is needed the most, especially as Covid-19 continues to negatively impact Namibia's economy.

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