Standard Bank woos Chinese businesses

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WINDHOEK – Standard Bank Namibia’s Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB) Department hosted a networking event for the Chinese business community in Swakopmund on April 1, 2015.

The event took place a day after the well-attended budget review session at the Windhoek Country Club Resort and Casino, an event traditionally held immediately after the budget speech. The aim of this networking session was to create a platform for intra-network opportunities among the Chinese business community as well as with Standard Bank. The event witnessed a number of speakers, who included representatives from the Chinese business community and executives who spoke on behalf of Standard Bank. The main highlight of the event was the presentation on the state of Namibia-China trade delivered by Standard Bank’s Manager of Economic and Market Research, Mally Likukela.

Likukela noted that Namibia and China’s relationship, which dates back to the years of Namibia’s struggle for independence, was formalised immediately after independence whereby a number of corporation and trade agreements were entered into. The friendly co-operation between the two countries has ever since been developing steadily and soundly. This relationship has seen a number of Chinese nationals and companies growing significantly, resulting in increased trade volumes between the two countries.

According to Likukela, bilateral trade between Namibia and China, as recorded by the Namibia Statistical Agency, shows that the total value of goods exported to China amounted to N$206 million in 2004. By 2009, total value of goods exported had reached an all-time high of N$2.6 billion. The most important among these major exports to China are: copper and copper products; ores, slag and ash; residues and waste from food industries; fish and fish products; and paper, paperboard and articles of paper, which together accounted for an average of 81.5 percent per year over the same period. The increased export to China particularly 2004-2009 was ascribed to high growth rates and a vibrant expanding manufacturing sector in that economy that pushed up demand for raw material.

Regarding imports, Namibia’s high import versus export signifies a skewed trade balance that continues to exist between the two trading partners. The value of Namibia’s imports from China was N$103 million in 2004, which grew to N$2.2 billion in 2009. Since 2003, Chinese exports to Namibia consisted almost entirely of manufactured goods, namely automobile, machinery, electronic equipment, machines tools, information technology, and road-building and construction machinery.

Likukela informed the gathering that since 2009, trade with China has dropped significantly, but this was ascribed to the financial crisis in 2009/10. However, trade has begun a steady increase following the global recovery, of which China is one of the fastest growing economies. The recent optimism in trade provides a favourable environment for further advancement of Chinese businesses in Namibia. Chinese business community were thus encouraged to seize the moment of the growing economy and help Namibia achieve Vision 2030.

Standard Bank assured the attendees that as Namibia’s prominent financial services provider, it stands ready to provide the much-needed financial intermediation.

Likukela also discussed the just tabled 2015/16 National Budget, which he said was the government’s way of supporting the economy and businesses to grow and thrive. “Government wants to particularly support the construction industry, an area in which the Chinese business community commands a significant role,” he said.

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