ANKARA: General trade between Turkey and Namibia has increased by more than 100 percent within the last three years. According to trade statistics obtained from the Namibian Statistics Agency (NSA), last year Namibia exported goods to Turkey with a total value of US$28 million and imported goods worth US$104 million.
The goods exported include fish fat, charcoal, fur skin and those imported include sugar confectionaries, uncooked pasta, active yeast, textile, sodium carbonate, steel, iron, wire and machinery for various industrial sectors such as horticulture and bakery.
According to the Turkish Embassy in Windhoek, trade value between the two countries stand at US$22.187 million as of May 2015.
In November last year, the Namibian Government signed an agreement with the Turkish Government on trade and economic cooperation. This agreement aims to promote and facilitate trade and economic activities between the two countries.
One of the challenges faced by many SME manufacturers in Namibia is having access to intermediate inputs for production. As evident in the trade analysis, Namibia’s imports from Turkey include mostly intermediate inputs for some manufacturing sub-sectors such as the pasta industry, inputs for steel/wire manufacturing and industrial machinery. Therefore, it is beneficial for Namibia to leverage on this trade relationship in order to boost our manufacturing sector.
Imports of textiles were valued at US$946 673 last year. The textile and clothing industry was the first industrial sector that developed Turkey. As Namibia has prioritised this sector for industrialisation, Namibia should leverage on Turkey’s experience for support to grow this sector.
This is one of the sectors with great potential to create employment opportunities in the long run for Namibia. Such support could be in the form of sourcing of raw materials and/or for Namibian textile SMEs to form joint ventures with Turkish textile manufacturers especially to develop skills needed to establish successful textile businesses.
Turkey’s ambassador to Namibia, her Excellency Madam Deniz Cakarv, revealed that Turkey is a leading manufacturer of all construction materials. With the construction industry driving the Namibian economy presently, this is an opportunity for Namibia to take advantage of this trade relationship and see how this could contribute positively to Namibia’s construction sector. Again, this could be in terms of sourcing of materials, training through internship programmes and job attachments at Turkish manufacturers to gain practical skills.
The issue of training is a significant one for Namibia as the industrial agenda will only be realistic and realised if education, technology and innovation are prioritised. Hence, the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on education between the two countries should also expand on vocational training and internship programmes to expedite the skill’s deficit faced by the manufacturing industry.