Windhoek-Bilateral trade volumes between Namibia and India currently stand at about N$2.3 billion and, as the Asian country celebrates its 69th Republican Day today, its local high commission says the full potential of trade has yet to be exploited optimally.
The Republic Day is celebrated every year on January 26 to honour the date on which the constitution of India came into effect in 1950.
India got her independence on August 15, 1947 from Britain.
The country’s High Commissioner to Namibia, Kumar Tuhin, speaking exclusively to New Era ahead of today’s celebrations, said Namibia and India have not fully exploited the full potential of trade and economic opportunities existing between them.
He said the recorded value of trade, which sometimes reaches $200 million annually, could be an understated figure because many goods from India reach Namibia through third countries and vice versa.
“For example, Namibian rough diamonds arrive in India indirectly and do not get reflected in the bilateral trade figures,” Tuhin said.
“The full potential of trade and business ties between our two countries is still to be tapped. There are significant complementarities in the economies of India and Namibia. There is great demand in India for mineral resources with which Namibia is richly endowed.”
“In areas such as mining, pharmaceuticals, renewable energy [and so forth], both countries can cooperate for mutual benefit. The rapid growth of the Indian economy also provides tremendous opportunities for business, trade and investments with Namibia,” he added.
The principal commodities of export from India to Namibia are drugs and pharmaceuticals, inorganic, organic and agro chemicals, glassware, plastic and linoleum products, machine tools, machinery and instruments, transport equipment, rubber manufactured products and electronic goods.
Namibia’s principal commodities of export to India are non-ferrous metals, metalliferous ores, metal scrap and transport equipment.
In 2017, the largest import items into Namibia from India – in terms of value – included light oils, pharmaceuticals and medicaments, machinery and equipment, and rice. Namibia’s leading exports to India during the same period were diamonds, zinc, marble and other minerals.
“India attaches high importance to her ties with Namibia. All facets of bilateral relations, from trade to culture, from cooperation in capacity building to parliamentary and people-to-people exchanges, have seen consistent improvement,” the high commissioner told New Era.
As part of efforts to expand economic and commercial relations between the two nations, ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), an Indian company, has made a large investment in Namibia by acquiring a 15 percent stake in an oil block in Namibia’s offshore – Block 2012A – last year.
“This was OVL’s second investment in Namibia. Earlier in 2017, OVL had acquired 30 percent stake in Namibia’s EPL 37, covering three offshore blocks,” Tuhin noted.
In July last year, a high-level business delegation from the Confederation of Indian Industry, comprising companies in areas of power transmission, management consulting, construction and material, aviation, telecommunication, irrigation and water supply, health and infrastructure, visited Namibia.
“Earlier, we had also arranged visits by sector-specific business delegations in areas like health and ICT,” Tuhin said of the high commission’s work in the country.
India annually sponsors 150 fully-paid scholarships, both long-term and short-term, for training of Namibians in diverse fields.