Angola: Lack of Angola-Namibia Trade Concerns PM

The Namibian government is concerned over the negligible level of trade and investment between Namibia and Angola.

Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said the level of investment and trade activities between the two countries is not commensurate with the bonds the countries share, politically and culturally.

She was speaking yesterday during a courtesy call by the governors of the Banco Nacional de Angola, Jose de Lima Massano and Bank of Namibia's (BoN) Johannes !Gawaxab on President Hage Geingob.

"As we have observed, there is lack of trading activities between the countries, rather we look for the outside world for trading and we can never optimise our interest as Africans for as long as we do not strengthen our economy as an African economy by growing trade and investment activities," she said.

According to the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA), exports to Angola from Namibia stood at N$486 667 122, while imports from Angola to Namibia stood at N$158 040 953 in 2021.

Meanwhile, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila was impressed that the two governors are engaging to support policy objectives of the two governments. "Namibia and Angola share a long history of friendship, brotherliness and sisterliness".

In pursuing a collaboration that can assist the two countries in attaining balanced and sustainable economic growth and prosperity of both nations, BoN has been hosting the Angolan delegation for the past days.

"We had talks on collaborations focusing on payments and settlements to enhance trade between the two nations. We also looked at ensuring that when we trade, we are dealing with many challenges and illegalities like illegal financial schemes and exchanged notes on digital currencies.

To reap a few benefits from economic integration, we need central banks to work together," stated !Gawaxab.

In a statement released yesterday, the central bank said the two banks are following the lead of their respective governments' promotion of the free movement of people, goods, and services in addition to their standard peer-to-peer cooperation.

Following the discussions, the two central banks decided to cooperate to promote effectively, modernised, and digitally enabled payment methods between the two countries, improve trade-friendly exchange control regimes and protect the stability and integrity of their respective financial systems.

In this context, the two central banks agreed to further enhance trade facilitation by using current and regional cross-border payment system agreements to guarantee quicker, digitally enabled, and more cost-effective cross-border remittances.

To further facilitate payments in support of trade facilitation between the two countries, the two central banks agreed to explore innovative and instant payment solutions, and other financial services under Fintech Regulatory Framework approaches.

"This also entails leveraging participation in the SADC Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) platform, with the potential onboarding of the two countries' respective domestic currencies (NAD and Kwanza) on the SADC-RTGS to facilitate payment of settlement for goods and services, thus enhancing trade among our respective nations," reads the statement.

Moreover, both countries agreed that they would ensure optimal participation in the transactions cleared on an immediate basis (TCIB) scheme, introduced through the SADC payment system structures, for faster, affordable cross-border remittances.

The meeting also shared economic developments in both countries, including inflationary pressures, which poses a challenge for monetary policy authorities to act decisively as it can disproportionately affect the most vulnerable members of society.

According to the statement, the two governors observed that external shocks emanating from the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war had caused supply chain disruptions and mismatches between supply and demand in global energy markets, leading to rising energy prices and increasing food prices which have, in turn, resulted in an uptick in inflation.

Recently, also in efforts to accelerate and strengthen commercial ties between Namibia and Angola, international relations minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah led a delegation of businesspeople to the neighbouring country in search of business or trade opportunities.

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