Trade Volumes Between Namibia and Finland ‘Worryingly’ Skew

Trade and industry minister Calle Schlettwein on Wednesday expressed concern over the skewed trade balance between Namibia and Finland.

“Our trade balance is worryingly skew, but there is always room for improving it”, he said during the trade and investment forum between Namibian businesses and those of Finland in Tampare City, about 120 kilometres west of Helsinki.

In 2013, Namibia exported goods to Finland to the value of N$1,5 million , while the country imported goods from that country to the value of N$190 million.

“This type of trade balance is as skew as the Namibian economy”, he said.

He said although Namibia’s economy has been growing from 4% upwards for the past 24 years, the economy is still skew, accommodating only a few rich people while the majority of the population remains poor.

“We export raw materials and import finished goods. We are price-takers instead of price-makers, which puts our position in the global value-chain at the bottom”, he said.

“We want to improve this situation through improving trade cooperation between the two countries. We have to work very hard to ensure that we are increasing trade volumes between the two countries so that our excellent political relations are translated into economic relations,” he noted.

“We want to manufacture goods for domestic consumption and for exports, thereby reducing our dependency on imports, and increase our exports and export earnings”, he said.

POVERTY

Namibia is also faced with the challenges of poverty, unemployment, the unequal distribution of wealth and income, as well as low economic growth and low industrial capacity.

“We believe that the most pragmatic approach to address these challenges is by creating more opportunities for wealth creation and distribution, employment and the transformation of the structure of our economy from its current heavy reliance on the primary sector for its growth towards a higher percentage contribution of the manufacturing and local value-addition sectors to our gross domestic product (GDP) and employment”, the minister said.

Meanwhile, Schlettwein explained that Namibia is a small economy neighboured by big economies, but the country is very stable politically, and can offer good business security and good macro-economic fundamentals.

“We have good infrastructure which could facilitate trade, but we have challenges which need to be faced together with Finland”, he said.

CONSUMER GOODS

Speaking at the same occasion, Finland’s Minister of Transport Henna Virkkunen said her country has instead of producing only consumer goods, turned to focussing on investments and services.

“We are one of the countries in the world which is a net exporter of high technology”, she said.

She furthermore indicated that Finnish products and services can play a key role in the development of Namibia’s economy through investments and the transfer of skills.

“Finland is a knowledge-based economy, and our success lies in innovation and technology”, she added.

Namibia imports electrical machines, machinery and mechanical appliances, articles of iron and steel, vehicles as well as railway parts from Finland, while Finland’s imports from Namibia range from whole skins, rubber parts and accessories of machines and ornamental articles.

NAMPA

Source : The Namibian