From 2004 to 2017 the total value of Namibian exports to China totalled slightly more than N$21.3 billion while during the same period Namibian imports from China were just shy of N$30 billion at N$29.8 billion. These latest figures are according to the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) which indicated that Namibia’s top five exports to China for 2017 by value consisted of uranium ores and concentrates (N$1.3 billion), zinc, not alloyed (N$911 million), zinc ore and concentrates (N$377 million), marble and travertine cut into blocks (N$160 million) and dredgers (N$94 million).
Other top Namibian exports to China included other zinc products, lead ores and concentrates, flours, meals and pellets of fish (unfit for human consumption), granite as well as prefabricated buildings.
On the other hand, the top five Namibian imports by value from China during 2017 included grinding balls for mills, forged or stamped, of iron or steel (N$446 million), other special purpose motor vehicles such as breakdown lorries (N$278 million), photosensitive semiconductor devices, including light emitting diodes (N$233 million), sodium hydroxide, caustic soda (N$194 million) as well as bombs, grenades, torpedoes, mines, missiles and similar munitions (N$192 million). Other top imports from China included parts of airplanes or helicopters, cast steel articles for mills, dumpers for off-highway use, machines for mixing, kneading, crushing or grinding and semi or wholly-milled rice.
During the recent state visit of President Hage Geingob to the People’s Republic of China, Namibia’s developmental need to diversify and grow an export-oriented economy was discussed while, on the other hand, China’s ability as the second largest economy to not only provide a significant market for finished goods and commodities, but also the provision of skills, technology and capital was the subject of numerous meetings.
During Geingob’s latest state visit the two countries agreed that Namibia can benefit from deepened financial cooperation targeted towards industrialisation and improved productive capacity, economic diversification and infrastructure development in both the productive and social sectors and especially in agriculture and skills and technology transfer. China in turn agreed that it can utilise Namibia’s strategic geographical location and market access into SACU, SADC, broader Africa and beyond to serve these markets.
Local media also reported this week that Namibian beef will finally be exported to the massive Chinese market after a protocol to that effect was signed during the recent visit. Namibia is the first African country to export beef to the Asian country, which will also source local seafood, mutton and grapes.