RUSTENBURG - The looting and unrest in South Africa could be an opportunity for Namibia to bolster its domestic capacity, President Hage Geingob said on Thursday.
"It has been said that great challenges present opportunities for growth. Anticipated disruptions to the supply chains of essential goods and services in the Republic of South Africa may present an opportunity to bolster our domestic capacity," he said in his national address.
He said accelerated efforts were under way to, among others, increase local oxygen-generating capacity and to fast-track the manufacturing of coffins locally.
"Such renewed investments should remain viable beyond this particular crisis, thereby creating new opportunities for our young people," he said.
According to the Namibia Statistics Agency, South Africa remained Namibia’s largest import market with a share of 32% of the value of all goods received into the country in April.
Daily newspaper The Namibian reported that from January to May this year, Namibia has imported N$17.1 billion (about US$1,161,160,000) worth of goods from South Africa. This translates to about N$3.4 billion every month.
During the same period Namibia has sold goods to South Africa worth N$4.8 billion – roughly N$952.9 million a month.
Daily newspaper New Era reported on Thursday that Namibia has received 30,840 tourists from South Africa out of 61,663 between September 2020 to March this year as part of the tourism revival initiative. This represents 50% of tourist arrivals to Namibia during the period.
According to the daily, the unfolding unrest in South Africa is regrettable, considering that the country is one of Namibia’s major source markets for tourists.
South Africa is going through a wave of violent looting and unrest that began with protests calling for the release of former president Jacob Zuma, who has been sentenced to 15 months in jail by the Constitutional Court for contempt of court.
Shopping malls in the province of KwaZulu-Natal have been looted and torched and the unrest has since spilled over to Gauteng province.
The South African government has deployed the army to help quell the violence.