Fish exports have declined by 6.8% to N$1,3b from N$ 1.98b in the first quarter of 2015, according to a recent Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) quarterly trade statistics report released in July.
“While the fish export revenue rose by 42.2% to N$ 1.85b during the first quarter of 2015 from N$ 1.3b from the previous quarter, fish export declined slightly by 6.8% during 1st quarter of 2015 from N$1.98b during 1st quarter of 2014,” the report says.
The decline in fish exports is attributed to alternatives markets for fish in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Italy and Mozambique whose fish imports from Namibia declined by 34 %, 33.6% and 27.1 % respectively.
Furthermore countries such as France and Congo Brazzaville which imported a significant amount of fish from Namibia in the first quarter of 2014 did not import any fish from Namibia in the period under review.
The fisheries sector is one of the highest contributors to the economy and second only to the mining sector in terms of exports. In the month of July, the Namibian government set to review the Marine Living Resource Act of 2000 meant to tighten the law around locals selling their fishing rights to foreign companies.
“Precious stones (diamonds) fish, copper, ores and beverages dominated the list of Namibia’s major exports during the period under review. The overall export revenue generated from these commodities rose by 22.3% to N$ 9.8b compared to N$ 8.1 b in the same quarter of 2014. These commodities accounted for 72.5% of export revenue in the first quarter of 2015 compared to 61.7& in the same quarter of 2014,” NSA noted in their report.
The NSA report stated that the most significant increase was reflected by copper which rose by a staggering 178 % to N$ 1.4b followed by beverages which increased by 62.4% to N$ 0.53b while precious stones (diamonds) rose by more than half to N$ 4.8 b in the first quarter of 2015 from N$ 3.1 b in the corresponding quarter of 2014.
The factors behind the increase in the export of minerals was reflected in the high demand of the commodity in Switzerland, South Korea and South Africa while the rise in export beverages is due to increase in foreign demand in countries such as Zambia and South Africa while the growth in diamond export can be attributed to the increase in demand for diamonds by Botswana (N$2.6b) and South Africa (N$ 0.74b), as the NSA trade and statistics report show.
The NSA report also shows that the overall import value declined by 5.8% to N$ 19.4b from N$20.6b in the same quarter a year ago.
The main import products ranged from vehicles, machinery mechanical appliances, ores, precious stones, electrical machinery and equipment which accounted for 44.5 % of import expenditure in the first quarter of 2015 as compared to the 38.3% from the first quarter of 2014.
In terms of economic regions, Namibia’s export destinations in the first quarter of 2015 were Southern African Customs Union (SACU), European Union (EU), and European Free Trade Areas (EFTA) while imports were mainly from the same economic regions in the order of SACU, BRIC, EU and EFTA.
“The highest number one export market was SACU with export to SACU improving by 33.1% accounting for N$ 5.4b in the first quarter of 2015 compared to N$ 4.0b in the corresponding quarter of 2014. Furthermore the export revenue from SACU accounted for a share of 40% of the total export revenue as compared to 31 % during 1st quarter of 2014,” the NSA report shows.
SACU remains the main source of import, under the period under review. The import bill from SACU has increased by 9.3 % to N$ 13.4b in the 1st quarter of 2015 as compared to N$ 12.3 b in the 1st quarter of 2014.
Although Namibia still heavily depends on import, NSA former Acting Statistician General Liina Kafidi stated in the released report that Namibia’s trade deficit had slowed down by 22.8% to account for N$ 5.8b in the 1st quarter of 2015 from N$ 7.6b recorded in the 1st quarter of 2014 due to a slight decline in the overall import expenditure to N$ 19.4 b.
The overall export revenue, on the other hand, for the period under review remained constant when compared to the same quarter last year