Namibian president Hifikepunye Pohamba is urging greater intra-Africa trade as a means of combating poverty and creating jobs for the youth.
Pohamba made the call in a message delivered on his behalf by Fisheries Minister Bernard Esau at the official inauguration of the Namibia Standards Institution (NSI) fisheries inspection centre at Lüderitz on Friday.
The centre was built at a cost of N$7,8 million and completed in December last year.
Pohamba said intra-African trade remains disappointingly low despite more than doubled growth in intra-African foreign direct investment between 2003 and 2011, from eight to 16 per cent.
“Our Government will continue to invest in the development of our national quality infrastructure as a means of promoting industrialisation, trade and commerce. The aim is to improve the quality of our products, reduce transaction costs and to expedite the movement of goods, services and persons across borders,” said Pohamba.
Saying that Namibia is actively participating in ongoing negotiations for the establishment of a Tri-Partite Free Trade Area grouping the Southern African Development Community, the East African Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, Pohamba said the envisaged FTA will boost intra-regional trade by providing a much bigger market.
“In turn, this will attract more investment flows and enhance competitiveness and the development of cross-regional infrastructure,” he added.
The President appealed to Namibian manufactures and producers to optimally use the services offered by NSI to confirm that such products were manufactured in accordance with the international standards.
“It is also the way of verifying the competitiveness of our products at home, in the region, on the African continent and around the world,” he said.
Pohamba also called on the local business community to participate in NSI standardisation activities in order to benefit from opportunities offered by intra-Africa trade.