Namibia seeks inspiration from Angola's SEZ success

Ogone Tlhage
Lawmakers from the parliamentary standing committee on economics and public administration conducted a benchmarking exercise in Angola to gain insight into that country’s Special Economic Zone (SEZ) regime. This comes as Namibia prepares to implement its own SEZ regime to attract investors.
The adoption of the SEZ will replace the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) regime currently in force, which was introduced in the years preceding independence in the early 1990s to provide tax incentives to exporters.
The report noted that the benchmarking visit to Angola proved profoundly informative and beneficial.
“The exchange of ideas and experiences with various organisations and ministries has provided valuable insights and lessons that can significantly contribute to Namibia’s economic development,” the report said.

Recommendations listed
Among the recommendations stemming from the Angola visit was the need for policy reforms aimed at streamlining laws and regulations, encouraging inter-sectional linkages, and enhancing investment support mechanisms to boost manufacturing and industrialisation.
Other recommendations include advocating for policies supporting the establishment of industrial zones with robust infrastructure, access to energy and water, housing solutions, and transport connectivity to boost industrial growth.
It was also recommended to advocate for collaboration and alignment between various government ministries, [the] private sector and stakeholders to ensure a cohesive and effective approach towards achieving Vision 2030.

Diversify economy
It was also proposed that Namibia identify strategies to diversify the economy, reduce dependence on mining and [the] natural resources sectors and encourage sustainable growth by investing in agriculture and manufacturing.
Industrialisation minister Lucia Iipumbu said that once enacted, the regime will make it easier for foreign investors to operate.
“These regulations are designed to create an environment that encourages and supports investment, streamlining processes to make it easier for businesses to operate in Namibia while ensuring checks and balances in terms of investment portfolios and compliance,” Iipumbu said during a consultative workshop to unpack the proposed regime.
During a recent budget motivation for her ministry, Iipumbu informed lawmakers that an SEZ bill had been finalised and would be tabled within the current fiscal year.
“The ministry has finalised the draft SEZ bill and accompanying regulations. These are to be tabled during the 2024–25 period, which will effectively ensure that we phase out the EPZ regime by the end of 2025. During the forthcoming period of 2024–25, the ministry will finalise a SEZ master plan to guide the implementation process once the regime sets in,” she said.
Lawmakers are looking north to Angola to establish how to set up a Special Economic Zone. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED