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Thursday 24 January 2019
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Schlettwein: One-sided agreements detrimental to developing economies

The Addis Ababa Action Agenda for Development needs win-win scenarios through which inclusive economic growth and shared prosperity is brought about, anything less than that is not good enough, finance minister stated this week.
 
Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein attended the 4th conference of the Paris Forum about the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Tuesday which is aimed at overhauling the global finance practices and generate investments for tackling a range of economic, social and environmental challenges.
 
“The quantity of investments is important and in need to be increased. It is however at least of equal importance that the quality of such investments is good.
 
Bad and one sided investment agreements are more often than not detrimental to developing economies and are therefore undesirable,” said a concerned Schlettwein.
 
The minister said: “We have enacted the Public Procurement Act last year with a rather autonomous central procurement board to embed transparency and efficiency in the public procurement process.
 
Likewise, the PPP Bill has been laid before the legislature and it is expected to come into operation in 2017.”
 
He said Namibia offers an investment climate that includes investment opportunities into the resource sectors.
 
“Industrialization and value addition that improved productive capacity brings about has to be at the core of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. Not only has value to be added to our raw materials and natural resources, but also the value share from these resources has to be improved.
 
Moving up the value chain and participating in regional and global value chains is required,” he pointed out.
 
During the conference Schlettwein also indicated that from a global perspective, debt capital that is properly structured, well targeted and prudently managed forms is an important source of financing for development, given the substantial financing needs such as those engendered in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.
 
Adding that: “A significant build-up of debt, private or public, domestic or sovereign, impedes the growth on account of limiting the ability to conduct countercyclical fiscal expansion during bust cycles.
This is, by and large, the state of play in the global economy today, with heterogeneity across economic groups and countries.”
He also took the opportunity to blame economic shocks as a reason for the exacerbation of the debt sustainability to the economy, financial market and public revenue.
 
“The question that could be raised then is what policy options do Governments have when confronted with elevated public debt portfolios and the need to lift inclusive economic growth?” he asked.
The Action Agenda calls on developed countries to implement their commitment to a goal of jointly mobilizing USD100 billion per year by 2020 from a wide variety of sources to address the needs of developing countries.
 
Countries also committed to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that lead to wasteful consumption.
 
Namibia-France trade links
Meanwhile, President Hage Geingob this week announced that products worth Euro 25.6 million (N$379 million) were imported into Namibia from France in 2015.
Speaking during a meeting with the business community in France on Monday, he invited heads of commerce to invest in priority areas such as transport infrastructure, affordable housing, agriculture and manufacturing in Namibia.
 
The Head of State noted that Namibia and France trade in a number of products, including fish, food and beverages, minerals, petroleum products, chemicals clothing, live animals, pharmaceutical products.
 
“We are delighted to see that a number of French companies are already doing business in Namibia. Their investments have created jobs and transferred technology and expertise,” he said. These include the development of the 4,5 megawatt (MW) Omburu solar plant at Omaruru by InnoSun, which was completed in April 2015. A second solar plant is being developed by the same company in Okahandja, with a capacity of 4,5 MW. They also plan to set up a 150MW wind farm in Namibia, Geingob noted.
 
He encouraged more French companies to take advantage of their advanced technology and greater industrial know-how to invest in Namibia.
 
“We want to develop our manufacturing capabilities to become the backbone of our economy. We are, therefore, eager to learn from you about the development of labour-intensive industries,” said the Head of State. Geingob went on to say Namibia’s focus is on value addition to natural resources.
 
“We believe that by adding value to our natural resources, Namibia will be able to increase its industrial output and thereby increase its exports of finished and high quality goods to regional and international markets,” he said.
 
To this end, Namibia has developed the Growth at Home strategy, which emphasises commodity-based industrialisation through the strengthening of local and national value chains.
 
“We welcome French technology, know-how and innovation to be partners in Namibia’s growth at home story,” he said.
Additional reporting by Nampa



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