Annual Symposium

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The Bank of Namibia every year, since 1998, hosts a one-day Symposium. The aim of this Symposium is to bring together experts in the field of economics (internationally and locally) to exchange views on various issues pertaining to the Namibian economy. The theme for this year’s Annual Symposium is:


Theme:
Positioning Namibia to reap the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)

The main objectives of the AfCFTA are to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of businesspersons and investments, and thus pave the way for accelerating deeper integration. It will also aim to expand intra-African trade through better harmonization and coordination of trade liberalization and facilitation and instruments across the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and across Africa in general. The AfCFTA is expected to enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level through exploitation of opportunities for scale production, continental market access and better reallocation of resources.
 
In terms of trade, Namibia’s limitations are mainly the supply-side constraints. Currently Namibia’s export structure is dominated by minerals, fish, beef and grapes. Namibia has a narrow manufacturing base, which calls for further exploitation. Namibia is described as an open economy with a small population of 2.4 million people. Namibia’s relatively small population coupled with high levels of unemployment and unequal distribution of the national income places limitations on its market capacity. Namibia could therefore mitigate these limitations by expanding its economy through an export driven economy strategy.
 
Against the above backdrop, this symposium will assess the challenges and opportunities offered by the AfCFTA. More specifically, the conference aims to unpack challenges namely: limited manufacturing activity, infrastructure constraints, tariff, and non-tariff barriers that, amongst others, hinder trade between Namibia and the rest of Africa. The symposium will also analyse low-hanging fruits or benefits that Namibia should exploit to benefit from AfCFTA. This will entail identifying key export products that could potentially benefit from the AfCFTA market and how to leverage the country’s manufacturing sector’s capacity to exploit the larger market. In addition, examining how Namibian companies may become part of the regional and continental value chains would also be part of this analysis. Regional value chains involve larger industries sourcing their supplies from smaller industries across borders or selling the semi-finished and finished goods to the region.
 
It is envisaged that the following papers will be presented at the symposium:
 
Paper 1: Overview of Namibia’s trade with African Economies: The main objectives of the AfCFTA are to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of businesspersons and investments, and thus pave the way for accelerating deeper integration. It will also aim to expand intra-African trade through better harmonization and coordination of trade liberalization and facilitation and instruments across the RECs and across Africa in general. The AfCFTA is expected to enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level through exploitation of opportunities for scale production, continental market access and better reallocation of resources.
 
Paper 2: How to position Namibia to reap the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area: Experience and lessons from other countries: The AfCFTA aims to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of businesspersons and investments. The AfCFTA is also expected to enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level through exploitation of opportunities for scale production, continental market access and better reallocation of resources. This paper will focus on how to position Namibia to reap the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area. The paper should also focus on experiences and draw lessons from other leading trading nations across Africa on how they are busy preparing their private sectors, micro and small enterprises, even the informal sector, for effective participation in the AfCFTA.
 
Paper 3: Gearing the Namibian Private sector for the opportunities offered by the AfCFTA: Public and Private Sector Collaboration: The private sector is a key stakeholder and beneficiary of the AfCFTA. The business communities are the actual traders and investors; responsible for moving goods and services across border. The AfCFTA aims to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of businesspersons and investments. The AfCFTA is also expected to enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level through exploitation of opportunities for scale production, continental market access and better reallocation of resources. This paper will focus on the readiness of the private sector in Namibia to ensure their meaningful participation in this initiative and harness opportunities offered by the AfCFTA. The paper will also focus on current (or the lack of) private – public initiatives on how they are busy preparing their private sectors, micro and small enterprises, even the informal sector, for effective participation in the AfCFTA.
Paper 4: SACU position on AFCFTA and gearing the Namibian Private sector for the opportunities offered by the AfCFTA : The SACU Secretariat continue to support the Member States in their negotiating Agenda and implementation of Agreements. Therefore, SACU provides coordination of SACU’s position on the AfCFTA built-in Agenda, especially tariff negotiations and General/Product Specific Rules of Origin. Therefore, it will be important for the paper to provide the progress made so far on the SACU position on AFCFTA. The paper will focus on the position of SACU on the AfCFTA, the challenges, bottlenecks and achievements to date. The paper will further focus on SACU’s position on AfCFTA issues including the views on what should be the regional perspective on some of the key issues as well as how SACU Member States could best preparer themselves to reap the benefits from the AfCFTA.
 
Paper-4_SACU-position-on-AFCFTA.pdf
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