Since 2016, Namibia has been hit by a series of negative events, including a commodity price downturn, an extended sub-continental drought and, like the rest of the world, the Covid-19 pandemic. The combination of these negative trends has amplified the cyclical nature of Namibia’s economy.
As part of a high-level intervention to reduce the impact of these events, the government of Namibia engaged the Harvard Kennedy School’s Growth Lab in 2019 with the aim of creating a roadmap to more sustainable economic development and growth. A joint team of representatives from the Bank of Namibia (the country’s central bank), Ministry of Finance and Public Enterprises, the National Planning Commission, Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade, and the Harvard Growth Lab has been shepherding the process alongside other Namibian stakeholders.
The work Namibia has been doing with the Harvard Growth Lab predominantly focuses on:
- Diagnosing structural deficiencies in the economy
- Assessing and understanding the country’s economic complexity shortcomings
- Identifying specific strategies which could address the lack of economic depthOne of the major objectives that emerged from this research and analysis was the development of the Country Economic Diversification Strategy to address core issues impacting Namibia’s economy. The strategy is expected to:
- Reduce exposure to commodity price fluctuations and cycles
- Develop new sectors and products in the economy
- Focus on services and the economic value they create
- Increase economic complexity by facilitating the conversion of primary products from the commodities sector into secondary products
- Create new sectors and industries that will support the country’s energy transition ambitions, making Namibia a continental leader in thegreen economyEconomic diversification efforts will be based on several sectors and prioritisation that leverages existing productive capabilities, and that may enable transitions towards more sophisticated economic activities, these sectors include: