Country FilesSouthCountry Profile 2014: NAMIBIA

Sun,22Jul2018

Posted on Wednesday, 05 February 2014 09:17

Country Profile 2014: NAMIBIA

altSWAPO frontrunner on probation

As Namibia enters its 24th year as an entirely stable though rather stage-managed democracy, the signs are that the South West African People’s Organisation (SWAPO) presidential hopeful Hage Geingob may not have as easy a ride to power as his two predecessors did. The former liberation movement is starting toshowits cracks now that the iconic Sam Nujoma is no longer at the helm or keeping a lid on dissent.

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

> TOP NAMIBIAN COMPANIES

> TOP NAMIBIAN BANKS

 

theafricareport-namibia-72dpiSWAPO frontrunner on probation

Government plans for new energy infrastructure may be over-ambitious
Founding father Sam Nujoma takes a back seat, as his party shows cracks

As Namibia enters its 24th year as an entirely stable though rather stage-managed democracy, the signs are that the South West African People’s Organisation (SWAPO) presidential hopeful Hage Geingob may not have as easy a ride to power as his two predecessors did. The former liberation movement is starting toshowits cracks now that the iconic Sam Nujoma is no longer at the helm or keeping a lid on dissent.

With national elections due in the second half of the year, prime minister Geingob, from the minority Damara tribe, has found himself under fire from the more conservative wing of SWAPO. He has also been forced to respond publicly to accusations that he is okwankoloh, a word that implies a bit of a wastrel who does not give much thought for tomorrow. He makes no secret of his taste for the finer things in life, and there are questions over his sources of income since he admitted taking $300,000 from French nuclear company Areva as a consultancy fee while still a backbencher during his years in political disfavour.


POLITICAL LIABILITY


Although he won the presidential mandate handsomely in the party congress
of 2012, Geingob still has to fight off a rearguardaction, driven by thosewho want to impose Jerry Ekandjo, a conservative former trade unionist more in Nujoma’s populist mould. All along, it has been made clear to Geingob that he is effectively on probation. He is seen as uncomfortably close to foreign
business interests, and the idea of a non-Oshiwambo-speaking presidential candidate leaves the party conservatives uneasy – it is the Oshiwambo vote that has kept them in power for five consecutive elections.

There is still nostalgia for the days of Nujoma, even though he became something of a liability when a storm broke out over plans to erect yet another statue to the so-called “founding father of the nation”. Spending N$25m ($2.6m) on another glorification of the old man does not go down well with a young and hungry population in a country that has been experiencing a major drought and persistent high unemployment – up from about 21% in 1990 to well over 50% now. Fortunately for SWAPO, the official opposition Rally for Democracy and Progress is ineven worse shape: an internal challenge to Hidipo Hamutenya’s position as party president is now the subject of a legal battle. A more serious challenge comes from the youthful McHenry Venaani of the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance, who took over from the ageing leadership and now talks about forming a broad coalition to oppose SWAPO, perhaps the first step in breaking SWAPO’s headlock on political power.


UNREALISTIC GOALS

In October, the Namibia Statistics Agency adjusted estimates for growth in 2013 up by 0.7% to 2%, thanks to a rise in earnings from mineral and fish exports, boostedby a sharp decline in the value of the South African rand (to which the Namibian dollar is pegged at 1:1). The downside is that fuel prices have been increasing steadily, a tough proposition in a country that is desperately trying to industrialise. Major government plans for new dams, developing the Kudu gas field and a dedicated gas-fired power plant look somewhat unrealistic, as do plans to borrow the needed funds (unless a
convenient Chinese investor with deep pockets can be found).

Flat uranium prices mean that Areva has put its planned new mine into a care and maintenance programme, although the China National Nuclear Corporation, which bought the rights to the Husab uranium deposit, is still planning to open its new mine by 2015, where the promised output could soon
make Namibia the world’s third-largest producer of nuclear fuel. Gold mining has been a brighter prospect of late. Toronto-listed B2Gold is on track with opening its Otjikoto mine in the fourth quarter of 2014, adding 112,000oz per year to Namibia’s gold exports over 12 years. Elsewhere, AngloGold Ashanti is looking to sell its Navachab mine, in which South African tycoon Cyril Ramaphosa is thought to have expressed his interest.

 

 TOP NAMIBIAN COMPANIES

 

Rank 2012Rank 2011CompanySectorCountryTurnover (Thds $)Turnover changeNet profits
203182NAMDEB DIAMOND CORP.MININGNAMIBIA674,052-9.60%99,616
357443BIDVEST NAMIBIADIVERSIFIEDNAMIBIA329,02437.91%36,451
406404NAMIBIAN POWER CORP.ELECTRICITYNAMIBIA281,2105.06%19,903
477420NAMIBIA BREWERIESBEVERAGESNAMIBIA218,847-15.32%25,731
 

TOP NAMIBIAN BANKS

 

Rank 2012Rank 2011Bank nameCountryTotal assetsNet interest incomeLoansDeposits
8678FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF NAMIBIA*NAMIBIA2,177,436112,7601,678,2101,790,412
9482BANK WINDHOEKNAMIBIA1,908,268124,8031,586,0611,588,303
 


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