Private sector implored to explore new market opportunities

Martin Endjala

Industrialisation and Trade Deputy Minister, Verna Sinimbo, has implored businesses, particularly in the private sector to explore new market opportunities like agriculture and invest in the production of goods and services that can be competitively traded within the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTFA) framework.

She said the private sector should embrace innovation and technology to enhance productivity and competitiveness, adding that all these activities can only be unlocked once appropriate funding mechanisms are availed.

She reiterated that there have been deliberate efforts made to ease access to finance. Sinimbo made this remark at the Bank Windhoek Online Agriculture Series.

The deputy minister stated that AfCFTA represents a historic step forward in the journey towards African economic integration and holds tremendous promise for the country and the entire continent.

Sinimbo believes that the agriculture sector is a cornerstone of many economies, providing employment and contributing significantly to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.

“The AfCFTA can boost intra-African agricultural trade, leading to increased economic opportunities and overall growth. Agriculture is also critical in ensuring food security especially given the lessons learned from the pandemic as well as other geopolitical phenomena and our commitment to food self-sufficiency.

The African free trade can promote the trade of agricultural products, making it easier for countries to access a variety of food items and reduce food shortages,” she said.

The Deputy Minister emphasised that the agreement which was signed in January 2023, allows Namibia to export its surplus agricultural goods, which can stimulate economic development and export diversification.

The agreement further encourages investments in agribusiness and value addition within the agricultural sector and commercial banks can provide financing for infrastructure and processing facilities to boost the competitiveness of African agricultural products.

It is for this reason, that Namibia’s private sector including financial institutions such as Bank Windhoek plays a pivotal role in realising the potential of AfCTA.

Hence the call for collaborative efforts between government and the private sector to identify and address challenges faced in accessing regional and continental markets.

She further encouraged active participation in public-private dialogues and consultations to acquire feedback and shape trade policies. Additionally, engagements must also be done with responsible and sustainable business practices that promote economic growth and development while protecting the environment and communities.

Sinombo is adamant that AfCFTA represents a transformative opportunity for Namibia and Africa as a whole. By working together, the government, the private sector and all concerned parties can unlock the full potential of the agreement to drive economic growth and improve the livelihoods of the people.

“Let us seize this historic moment and build a prosperous and united Africa for our businesses to thrive,” she urged.

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