Trade relations between Russia and Namibia experienced a notable decline of approximately 41% last year, attributed to geopolitical tensions, according to a disclosure by Minister of Trade and Industrialisation, Lucia Iipumbu. Despite this setback, Namibia remains committed to revitalizing bilateral ties in key sectors such as agriculture, mining, and healthcare. Iipumbu highlighted the need to explore the potential for cooperation and collaboration, particularly in areas where both nations possess competitive advantages.
Speaking at an Invest in Namibia forum during the Russia Africa Business Summit, Iipumbu asserted, “We already know that Russia is very strong in agriculture, minerals, and healthcare. There are numerous sectors in which we believe we can collaborate and cooperate in the future.” The forum aimed to showcase investment opportunities in Namibia, and the Minister expressed optimism that the event’s speakers would unlock new avenues for investments.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, during a plenary session at the Russia-Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum, reinforced his country’s commitment to sharing expertise in agricultural production with African countries. Putin also extended support in implementing advanced technologies to bolster agricultural development. Notably, Russia has established itself as a leader in information and communication technologies and seeks to expand cooperation with African states in areas such as information security, artificial intelligence, and the digital economy.
Putin emphasized, “We have good experience in creating and using information technologies in tax administration, registration of property rights, and provision of electronic public services. We can assist interested African countries in launching similar systems and are always ready to share our best practices in the context of technological development.”
To further enhance trade and economic ties, Putin stressed the need for more robust financial settlements in national currencies, including the Russian ruble. Russia is eager to collaborate with African countries to develop their financial infrastructure, enabling cross-border payments independently of restrictive Western systems. This move would enhance the stability, predictability, and security of mutual trade exchanges.
Looking at recent trade patterns, Namibia’s main imports from Russia include wheat, ammonium nitrate (used as high nitrogen fertilizer for farmers), frozen chicken, and frozen sardines. Conversely, Namibia’s primary exports to Russia consist of oysters, fresh grapes, collector’s items, frozen crabs, and dates.
The Simonis Storm Geopolitics Report indicates that Namibia’s trade with both Ukraine and Russia combined accounts for less than 2% of total Southern African Customs Union (SACU) trade. With heightened recessionary risks in developed markets, there is potential for this situation to pose a downside risk to Namibia’s trade in the coming months.
Despite the recent decline in trade, the focus on agricultural exports emerges as a pivotal opportunity for Namibia to strengthen its bilateral relations with Russia. Both countries stand to gain from fostering cooperation in this sector, unlocking new possibilities for growth and economic prosperity. By leveraging Russia’s expertise and advanced technologies, Namibia can bolster its agricultural capabilities, leading to a more stable and prosperous future for both nations. As diplomatic efforts continue to nurture a positive trade environment, the potential for revitalized trade relations remains promising.
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