There is no doubt that Namibia is an attractive destination for foreign direct investment, with her many lucrative sectors that remain non-prohibitive for entry by non-Namibians. Testimony to this is Namibia’s ranking in, among others, the competitiveness index as the fourth most prosperous African country.
Nevertheless, there remains an elephant in the room, which is the huge capital flight. And that needs addressing. Namibia continues to invest huge amounts of money in the South African economy. Early this month the Namibian Head of State, Dr Hage Geingob, told an audience in South Africa that Namibia invested N$110 billion in South Africa since last year.
Economic or investment principles might dictate the need for diversification of an investment portfolio and to invest in vehicles that give good yields at the end of the day.
It is all well and good. However, there is a greater need to conduct an audit on whether the re-investment restrictions put in place for a percentage of pension funds, and other investment funds to be invested in the country, have yielded the required results.
So far the reasons advanced are not sufficient to staunchly indicate that investment of pension funds, long-term insurance and others in the Namibian economy would bring lesser yields compared to when invested in South Africa.
If that is the case, why is it that those outside Namibia are flocking to invest in Namibia? Can Namibia herself not invest in those very economic sectors in which others are coming to invest?
The recent presidential trip to the USA was another indication that the world is interested in doing business in Africa.
Further, Namibian leaders continue to receive invitations to international trade summits where they advocate Namibia as the best investment destination in southern Africa.
Indeed, Namibia’s image abroad remains the envy of many African – and continental European – countries, not least because of her democratic processes but also the proven leadership, stability, peace and good jurisprudence and governance.
Why can we, as Namibians, not see that as an opportunity and invest a larger portion of our funds locally? Could it really be true that the yields from local investments would be low, or that they are simply just too risky? Because that is definitely not the thought held by international investors in Namibia.