Jo-Maré Duddy – Namibia’s imports of food and medical supplies related to Covid-19 “was not too pronounced” last month as the Khomas and Erongo regions only went into lockdown on 27 March, official figures yesterday showed.
However, the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) warned that “locking down the entire country can pose a threat to the economy as a whole, especially for Namibia as it depended so much on imports”.
On 14 April, the entire Namibia went into lockdown. Restrictions were eased under phase two of the state of emergency which started on 5 May.
According to the latest trade data released by the NSA, Namibia imported articles related to Covid-19 medical supplies worth N$136 million in January, up from N$135 million the previous month. In February, these imports rose by 19% to N$162 million.
In March, however, imports of these articles fell by 18.2% to N$135 million, the NSA said.
Food imports dropped from more than N$1.1 billion in January to N$939 million in March. Compared to March 2019, the food import bill rose by 5.7% or N$51 million.
Namibia in March recorded a trade surplus of about N$1.5 billion with exports totalling around N$8.5 billion and imports approximately N$7 billion.
Exports grew by 62.3% from its level of nearly N$5.3 billion recorded in February. Compared to March 2019, exports grew at 3.3%.
According to the NSA, imports dropped by 20.2% from February and 37.2% compared to March 2019.
China emerged as Namibia’s largest export destination, accounting for 38.6% of all goods exported, the NSA said. Botswana was second with a market share of 12.4% of total exports.
South Africa was as the largest source of imports for Namibia, accounting for 50.5% of total imports in March. Zambia maintained its second position with a share of 18.8%.