Informal Cross Border Trade Booming

Largely operating under the radar, cross-border informal trade is booming on the country’s borders.

Namibia’s exports through the six surveyed border posts in November last year amounted to N$12 million while expenditure on imports through the same offices was relatively lower at N$217 645 in November 2014.

The Namibia Statistics Agency said in a report this week called ‘Informal Cross Border Trade’ that Oshikango accounted for most of the export shares with 72,5 % with Omahenene 12,1%, Wenela 8,9% and Calai 6,5%.

With respect to informal imports, Noordoewer, Ariamsvlei and Wenela border posts had the highest shares of the informal imports with 35,3%, 22,8% and 21,8% of total imports respectively.

The study states that there is a high volume of informal cross-border trade between Namibia and neighbouring countries. The trade balance between Namibia, Angola and Zambia, as per official custom data, is understated as the results from the survey has shown that there is a high volume of informal cross border trade, in particular Namibian exports to Angola and Zambia that are not captured by customs.

Informal trade between Namibia and Zambia is only taking place at Wenela border post. On the other hand, informal trade between Namibia and Angola occurs through Oshikango, Omahenene and Calai, while informal trade between Namibia and South Africa is prevalent at Ariamsvlei and Noordoewer.

Katwitwi, Ngoma, Kasamane and Trans Kalahari were not included in the survey.

The agency has said Calai should be considered for formalisation due to the volume of imports (N$31 000 and exports (N$775 750) recorded at this border during the survey period.


In Africa as a whole, about 41% of GDP is from informal trade.

The results indicate that a total value of exported goods via Oshikango border post amounted to N$8,8 million in November 2014.

Goods worth N$1,4 million were informally exported via Omahenene border post.

Wenela border post recorded informal exports of goods worth N$1 million.

The informal exports of goods via Ariamsvlei border post amounted to N$25 000 where clothes and footwear accounted for 29,3% of total export.

Noordoewer accounted for the least export of goods when compared to the other border posts.

Unlike exports, the import value of goods recorded at Oshikango border post was relatively insignificant. The informal value of imports through this border post was N$4 193.

Imports via Omahenene border post were relatively low amounting to N$8 360.

Overall Namibian imports through Wenela border post amounted to N$47 255 during the survey month.

The total import flow of goods via Ariamsvlei amounted to N$46 000.

Goods imported through Noordoewer border post were significantly higher by value when compared to the value of exported goods via the same border post. The total informal import through Noordoewer border post amounted to N$77 000.

Source : The Namibian