Executive Summary

Namibia is a stable, democratic country, and the Government of the Republic of Namibia is committed to stimulating economic growth and employment through foreign investment. The Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development is the governmental authority primarily responsible for carrying out the provisions of the Foreign Investment Act of 1990 (FIA). The government emphasizes the need for investors to partner with Namibian-owned companies and/or have a majority of local employees in order to operate in the country. Namibia’s judiciary is widely regarded as independent. In early 2017, the Namibian government implemented a new procurement act that is more in line with international standards and aims to ensure greater transparency. Regulations for the act came into force on April 1, 2017.

The FIA calls for equal treatment of foreign investors and Namibian firms, including the possibility of fair compensation in the event of expropriation, international arbitration of disputes between investors and the government, the right to remit profits, and access to foreign exchange.

There are large Chinese foreign investments in Namibia, particularly in the uranium mining sector. Australia and the United Kingdom (U.K.) are other important investors in uranium mining. South Africa has considerable investments in the diamond mining and banking sectors, while the U.K. has additional investment in zinc and copper mines. Foreign investors from Brazil, Spain, the U.K, Netherlands, the United States, and other countries have expressed interest in oil exploration off the Namibian coast, although the interest has dwindled with the worldwide drop in petroleum prices. European and Chinese companies are investing in the fisheries sector.

Namibia has a relatively small domestic market, high transport costs, relatively high energy prices, and a limited skilled labor pool. These disadvantages are offset by the main factors facilitating Namibia’s inward Foreign Direct Investment (FDI): political stability, a favorable macroeconomic environment, an independent judicial system, protection of property and contractual rights, good quality of infrastructure, and easy access to South Africa. Namibia also has access to the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) Free Trade Area, and markets in Europe. The investment climate is generally positive.

Table 1

Measure Year Index/Rank Website Address
TI Corruption Perceptions Index 2016 53 of 176 http://www.transparency.org/
World Bank’s Doing Business Report “Ease of Doing Business” 2016 104 of 190 doingbusiness.org/rankings
Global Innovation Index 2016 93 of 128 https://www.globalinnovationindex.org/
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) 2015 3 Million USD http://www.bea.gov/
World Bank GNI per capita 2015 5,190 USD http://data.worldbank.org/

Policies towards Foreign Direct Investment

The Namibian government welcomes and encourages foreign investment to help develop the national economy and benefit its population. The Foreign Investment Act (FIA) guarantees equal treatment for foreign investors and Namibian firms, including the possibility of fair compensation in the event of expropriation, international arbitration of disputes between investors and the government, the right to remit profits and access to foreign exchange. Investment and tax incentives are also available for the manufacturing sector. The government prioritizes investment retention and maintains ongoing dialogue with investors including through investment conferences.

Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment

Foreign and domestic entities may establish and own business enterprises and engage in all forms of remunerative activities. The Ministry of Home Affairs grants renewable and non-renewable temporary employment permits for a period of up to 12 months for skills not locally or readily available. However, work permits and long-term residence permits are subject to bureaucratic hurdles. Complaints about delays in renewing visas and work permits are common.

Foreigners must pay a 10 percent non-resident shareholder tax on dividends. There are no capital gains or marketable securities taxes, although certain capital gains are taxed as normal income. As a member of the Common Monetary Area, the Namibian dollar (NAD) is pegged at parity with the South African rand.

Other Investment Policy Reviews

The Namibian government has not conducted any investment policy review in the recent past through the OECD, WTO or UNCTAD. However, in June 2014, the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR), a Namibian non-governmental organization, released a study on Easing the Way for Investment in Namibia identifying 17 policy recommendations. The study is available online at the following link: http://ippr.org.na/publication/easing-the-way-for-investment-in-namibia/ 

The Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry publishes an annual Namibia business and investment climate (NAMBIC) survey. The most recent one available (from 2014) can be accessed online at: http://ippr.org.na/publication/namiba-business-and-investment-climate-nambic-survey-2014/ 

Business Facilitation

In 2014, the Namibian government established the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA) to improve service delivery and ensure effective administration of business and intellectual property rights (IPRs) registration. BIPA serves as a one-stop-center for all business and IPR registrations and related matters. It also provides general advisory services and information on business registration and IPRs. Website: http://www.bipa.gov.na/ 

BIPA is currently established under Section 21 of the Companies Act, pending the enactment of enabling legislation to transform it into a fully-fledged regulatory body. According to the Act, the functions of BIPA are:

to be the central focal point for the registration, administration and protection of businesses, commercial and industrial properties rights; and

to be the legal depository of information, documents and data required to be lodged under the applicable legislations.

Under the FIA, the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade, and SME Development established the Namibia Investment Center (NIC), which serves as Namibia’s official investment promotion and facilitation office. Often the first point of contact for potential investors, the NIC is designed to offer comprehensive services from the initial inquiry stage through to operational stages. The NIC also provides general information packages and advice on investment opportunities, incentives, and procedures. The NIC is tasked with assisting investors in minimizing bureaucratic red tape, including obtaining work visas for foreign investors, by coordinating with government ministries as well as regulatory bodies.

Business in Namibia may be conducted in the form of a public or private company, branch of a foreign company, closed corporation, partnership, joint venture or sole trader. Companies are regulated under the 2004 Companies Act, which covers both domestic companies and those incorporated outside Namibia but trading through local branches. To operate in Namibia, businesses must also register with the relevant local authorities, the Workmen’s Compensation Commission and the Social Security Commission.

Most investors find it helpful to have a local presence or a local partner in order to do business in Namibia, although this is not a legal requirement. Companies usually establish business relationships before tender opportunities are announced. The World Bank’s Doing Business 2017 report notes that it takes 10 steps and an average of 66 days to start a business in Namibia. Some accounting and law firms provide business registration services.

Outward Investment

Incentives are mainly aimed at stimulating manufacturing, attracting foreign investment to Namibia, and promoting exports. To take advantage of the incentives, companies must be registered with the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development and the Ministry of Finance. Tax and non-tax incentives are accessible to both existing and new manufacturers. The Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development has produced a brochure on Special Incentives for Manufacturers and Exporters that is available from the Namibia Investment Centre (NIC). Website: http://www.mti.gov.na/nic.html 

Namibia has an Export Processing Zone (EPZ) regime that offers favorable conditions for companies wishing to manufacture and export products. At the end of 2016, there were 18 EPZ companies in operation, most of which were closely linked to minerals beneficiation, including Namzinc (which produces Special High Grade zinc at the Skorpion zinc mine), Namibia Custom Smelters (which produces blister copper from imported copper concentrates), and a variety of diamond cutting and polishing operations (which cut and polish locally and internationally sourced rough diamonds).

Namibia has ratified Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investment Agreements (RIPPAs) with Angola, Austria, Cuba, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and Vietnam. China and the Russian Federation have signed investment agreements with Namibia, but the agreements have yet to be ratified. There is no bilateral investment agreement between the United States and Namibia. In 2008, SACU (of which Namibia is a member) signed a Trade, Investment and Development Cooperation Agreement (TIDCA) with the United States.

Transparency of the Regulatory System

The Competition Act of 2003 establishes the legal framework to “safeguard and promote competition in the Namibian market.” The Competition Act establishes a legal and regulatory framework that attempts to safeguard competition while boosting the prospects for Namibian businesses and recognizing the role of foreign investment. The act is intended to promote:

  • The efficiency, adaptability, and development of the Namibian economy;
  • Competitive prices and product choices for customers;
  • Employment and advancement of the social and economic welfare of Namibians;
  • Expanded opportunities for Namibian participation in world markets;
  • Participation of small enterprises in the economy by ensuring a level playing field; and
  • Greater enterprise ownership particularly among the historically disadvantaged.

The act established the Namibia Competition Commission (NaCC), which was officially launched in December 2009. The NaCC has the mandate to review any potential mergers and acquisitions that might limit the competitive landscape or adversely impact the Namibian economy. The Minister of Industrialization, Trade, and SME Development is the final arbiter on merger decisions and may accept or reject a NaCC decision. Any investor can file an appeal with the ministry, though no formal process for doing so has been established.

On December 31, 2015, the Namibian government published the Public Procurement Act of 2015, which is more in line with international standards and aims to ensure greater transparency in public procurements by government entities, including state-owned enterprises. The act entered into force in April 2017.

Draft bills and proposed legislation are normally not available for public comment. Bills are customarily drafted within the relevant ministry with minimal stakeholder or public consultation and then presented to the parliament for debate.

International Regulatory Considerations

Namibia is a member of the International Organization for Standardization. The coordinating bureau for standards in the country is the Namibian Standards Institution. As a member state, Namibia’s regulations conform to SACU and SADC agreements. Namibia is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and notifies the Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade on draft technical regulations.

Legal System and Judicial Independence

The Namibian court system is independent and is widely perceived to be free from government interference. Namibia’s legal system, based on Roman Dutch law, is similar to South Africa’s. The system provides effective means to enforce property and contractual rights, but the speed of justice is generally very slow.

Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment

The FIA provides for liberal foreign investment conditions and equal treatment of foreign and local investors. With limited exceptions, all sectors of the economy are open to foreign investment. There is no local participation requirement in the FIA, but the Namibian government is increasingly emphasizing the need for investors to partner with Namibian-owned companies and/or to have a majority of local employees in order to operate in the country.

The FIA reiterates the protection of investment and property provided for in the Namibian constitution. It also provides for equal treatment of foreign investors and Namibian firms, including the possibility of fair compensation in the event of expropriation, international arbitration of disputes between investors and the government, the right to remit profits and access to foreign exchange.

Competition and Anti-Trust Laws

The Namibian Competition Commission (NaCC), established in 2009 under the Competition Act of 2003, is responsible for reviewing mergers (foreign and domestic) to safeguard and promote competition in the Namibian market.

Expropriation and Compensation

The Namibian constitution enshrines the right to private property but allows the state to expropriate property in the public interest. The Agricultural (Commercial) Land Reform Act 6 of 1995 (ACLRA) is the primary legal mechanism allowing for expropriation, but the government has adhered to a “willing seller/willing buyer” policy as part of land reform programs. In 2004, the government announced it would proceed with land expropriations after much criticism about the slow pace of land reform. Three farms were expropriated as part of the effort. Court decisions mandated sizeable compensation to land owners, and the government quickly returned to its “willing seller/willing buyer” policy. The Namibian constitution makes pragmatic provision for different types of economic activity and a “mixed economy” (Article 98), accepts the importance of foreign investment (Article 99), and enshrines the principle that the ownership of natural resources is vested in the Namibian state (Article 100). Section 11 of the FIA reiterates the commitment to market compensation in the case of expropriation in terms of Article 16 of the Constitution. Holders of a Certificate of Status Investment must be compensated in foreign currency and can opt for international arbitration if any disputes arise.

Dispute Settlement

ICSID Convention and New York Convention

Namibia signed but has not ratified the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (ICSID). The ICSID and New York Convention are therefore not applicable.

Investor-State Dispute Settlement

The FIA allows for the settlement of disputes by international arbitration for investors that have obtained a Certificate of Status Investment (CSI) that includes a provision for international arbitration. The FIA stipulates that arbitration “shall be in accordance with the Arbitration Rules of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law in force at the time when the Certificate was issued” unless the CSI stipulated another form of dispute resolution.

International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts

As the “one-stop-shop” for investors, the Namibia Investment Centre (NIC) should be the body that first learns of an investment dispute between a foreign investor and a domestic enterprise. The NIC has not yet received a report of an investment dispute. Investment disputes can be handled by the courts.

There is no domestic arbitration body in Namibia. Investors without a CSI that encounter a dispute have to address their dispute in the Namibian courts or in the court system which has jurisdiction according to the investor’s contract. The Namibian court system is independent and is widely perceived to be free from government interference, including when SOEs are involved in investment disputes.

Bankruptcy Regulations

The Companies Act of 1973, amended in 2004, governs company and corporate liquidations while the Insolvency Act 12 of 1936, as amended by the Insolvency Amendment Act of 2005, governs insolvent individuals and their estates. The Insolvency Act details sequestration procedures and the rights of creditors. Through the law, all debtors (whether foreign or domestic) may file for both liquidation and reorganization, and a creditor may file for both liquidation and reorganization.

Investment Incentives

Incentives are mainly aimed at stimulating manufacturing, attracting foreign investment to Namibia and promoting exports. To take advantage of the incentives, companies must be registered with the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development and the Ministry of Finance. Tax and non-tax incentives are accessible to both existing and new manufacturers. The Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development has produced a brochure on Special Incentives for Manufacturers and Exporters that is available from the Namibia Investment Centre (NIC).

The Namibian Government aims to stimulate economic growth and employment and to establish Namibia as a gateway location in Southern African region. To this end the Government has introduced numerous incentives that are largely concentrated on stimulating manufacturing in Namibia and prompting exports into the region and to the rest of the world.
General tax regulations that are indicative of Government’s commitment are:

  • Non – resident Shareholders’ Tax is only 10%.
  • Dividends accruing to Namibian companies or resident shareholders are tax-exempt.
  • Plant, machinery and equipment can be fully written off over a period of three years.
  • Buildings of non-manufacturing operations can be written off, 20% in the first year and the balance at 4% over the ensuing 20 years.
  • Import or purchase of manufacturing machinery and equipment is exempted from Value Added Tax (VAT).
  • Preferential market access to EU, USA and other markets for manufacturers is provided.

Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation

Namibia has an Export Processing Zone (EPZ) regime that offers favorable conditions for companies wishing to manufacture and export products. At the end of 2016, there were 18 EPZ companies in operation, most of which were closely linked to minerals beneficiation, including Namzinc (which produces Special High Grade zinc at the Skorpion zinc mine), Namibia Custom Smelters (which produces blister copper from imported copper concentrates) and a variety of diamond cutting and polishing operations (which cut and polish locally and internationally sourced rough diamonds).

To make manufacturing in Namibia more competitive, Government has introduced a further package of tax and non-tax special incentives, applicable to both existing and new manufacturing enterprises, exporters and Export Processing Zone (EPZ) enterprises. Companies operating under the EPZ regime are free to locate their operations anywhere in Namibia. Though the Offshore Development Company (ODC), EPZ enterprises also have access to factor facilities rented at economical rates.

Namibia offers one of the most favorable EPZ regimes of the region. Normally, Namibian companies pay corporate income tax, general and additional sales duties, as well as stamps and transfer duties. The EPZ companies do not pay any of these taxes and duties; only personal income taxes on employees’ income are paid, and there is a Non- Resident Shareholders’ Tax of 10% when dividends are exported. Currency conversion is guaranteed, and financial transactions (the transfer of dividends, profits and dis-investment) may be undertaken by banks without the involvement of the Central Bank. The EPZ companies may not, however borrow money in the domestic money market.

The EPZ incentives are:

  • Corporate tax holiday
  • Exemption from import duties on imported intermediate and capital goods
  • Exemption from sales tax, stamp and transfer duties on goods and services required for

EPZ activities

  • Reduction in foreign exchange controls
  • Guarantee of free repatriation of capital and profits
  • Permission for EPZ investors to hold foreign currency accounts locally
  • Access to streamlined regulatory service (‘one stop shop’)
  • Refund of up to 75% of costs of pre-approved training of Namibian citizens
  • No strike or lock-outs allowed in EPZs
  • Provision of factory facilities for rent at economical rates

Performance and Data Localization Requirements

The government actively encourages partnerships with historically disadvantaged Namibians. Although the government does not have a codified Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) program, the Equity Commission requires all firms to develop an affirmative action plan for management positions and to report annually on its implementation. Namibia’s Affirmative Action Act strives to create equal employment opportunities, improve conditions for the historically disadvantaged, and eliminate discrimination. The Equity Commission facilitates training programs, provides technical and other assistance, and offers expert advice, information and guidance on implementing affirmative action in the work place.

In certain industries, the government has employed specific techniques to increase Namibian participation. In the fishing sector, for example, companies pay lower quota fees if they operate Namibian-flagged vessels based in Namibia with crews that are predominantly Namibian. The Ministry of Mines and Energy has made clear that mining companies must “indicate and show commitment to empower previously disadvantaged Namibians” in their applications for exploration and mining licenses.

The lengthy and administratively burdensome process of obtaining work permits in Namibia is among investors’ greatest complaints. Although the government cites the country’s high unemployment rate as its motivation for a strict policy on work permits, Namibia’s labor force does not yet meet many of the skills needed to fill jobs that foreigners currently hold.

The Namibian government does not have “forced localization” requirements for data storage. Domestic content is encouraged. State owned enterprises are including local ownership/participation requirements in procurement actions.

The Namibian constitution guarantees all persons the right to acquire, own and dispose of all forms of property throughout Namibia, but also allows parliament to make laws concerning expropriation of property (see Expropriation and Compensation Section) and to regulate the right of foreign nationals to own or buy property in Namibia. There are no restrictions on the establishment of private businesses, size of investment, sources of funds, marketing of products, source of technology, or training in Namibia.

Real Property

All deeds of sales are registered with the Deeds Office. Property is usually purchased through real estate agents and most banks provide credit through mortgages. The Namibian constitution prohibits expropriation without just compensation.

Intellectual Property Rights

Namibia is a party to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Convention, the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, and the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. Namibia is also a party to the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks and the Patent Cooperation Treaty. Namibia is a signatory to the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty.

The responsibility for IPR protection is divided among three government ministries. The Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development oversees industrial property and is responsible for the registration of companies, private corporations, patents, trademarks and designs through its Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA). The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology manages copyright protection, while the Ministry of Environment and Tourism protects indigenous plant varieties and any associated traditional knowledge of these plants.

Two copyright organizations, the Namibian Society of Composers and Authors of Music (NASCAM) and the Namibian Reproduction Rights Organization (NAMRRO), are the driving forces behind the government’s anti-piracy campaigns. NASCAM administers intellectual property rights for authors, composers and publishers of music. NAMRRO protects all other intellectual property rights including literary, artistic, broadcasting, satellite, traditional knowledge and folklore.

For additional information about treaty obligations and points of contact at local IP offices, please see WIPO’s country profiles at http://www.wipo.int/directory/en .

Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment

There is a free flow of financial resources within Namibia and throughout the Common Monetary Area (CMA) countries of the South African Customs Union (SACU), which include Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, South Africa, and Lesotho. Capital flows with the rest of the world are relatively free, subject to the South African currency exchange rate. The Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority (NAMFISA) registers portfolio managers and supervises the actions of the Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) and other non-banking financial institutions.

Although the NSX is the second-largest stock exchange in Africa, this ranking is largely because many South African firms listed on the Johannesburg exchange are also listed (dual listed) on the NSX. The government has introduced investment incentives to attract mutual funds and foreign portfolio investors that have energized emerging stock markets elsewhere in the developing world. By law, Namibia’s government pension fund and other Namibian funds are required to allocate a certain percentage of their holdings to Namibian investments. Namibia has a world-class banking system that offers all the services needed by a large company. Foreign investors are able to get credit on local market terms.

There are no laws or practices by private firms in Namibia to prohibit foreign investment, participation or control; nor are there any laws or practices by private firms or government precluding foreign participation in industry standards-setting consortia.

Money and Banking System

Namibia’s central bank, the Bank of Namibia (BoN), regulates the banking sector. Namibia has a highly sophisticated and developed commercial banking sector that is comparable with the best in Africa. There are five commercial banks: Standard Bank, Nedbank Namibia, Bank Windhoek, FNB Namibia, and the SME Bank. Bank Windhoek is the only locally-owned bank, the others are subsidiaries of South African institutions. In addition, there is one micro-finance bank (Trustco, formerly known as FIDES Bank) and one branchless bank (EBank). In 2015, the BoN granted provisional licenses to Banco BIC Namibia Limited and Banco Atlantico, both of which have majority Angolan shareholding. A third bank, Letshego Bank Limited, received a provisional license from the BoN to operate mostly as a microfinancier. A significant proportion of bank loans come in the form of bonds or mortgages to individuals. There is little or no investment banking activity.

While there are no restrictions on foreigners’ ability to open bank accounts, a non-resident must open a “non-resident” account at a Namibian commercial bank to facilitate loan repayments. This account would normally be funded from abroad or from rentals received on the property purchased, subject to the bank holding the account being provided with a copy of any rental. Non-residents who are in possession of a valid Namibian work permit/permanent residency are considered to be residents for the duration of their work permit and are therefore not subject to borrowing restrictions placed on non-residents without the necessary permits.

Foreign Exchange and Remittances

Foreign Exchange

The Namibian dollar is pegged at parity to the South African rand, and rand are accepted as legal tender in Namibia. The FIA offers investors meeting certain eligibility criteria the opportunity to obtain a Certificate of Status Investment (CSI). A “status investor” is entitled to:

  • Preferential access to foreign exchange to repay foreign debt, pay royalties and similar charges, and remit branch profits and dividends;
  • Preferential access to foreign currency in order to repatriate proceeds from the sale of an enterprise to a Namibian resident;
  • Exemption from regulations which might restrict certain business or categories of business to Namibian participation;
  • Right to international arbitration in the event of a dispute with the government; and
  • Payment of just compensation without undue delay and in freely convertible currency in the event of expropriation.

Remittance Policies

According to World Bank Development Indicators, data remittances to Namibia have been consistently less than 0.15 percent of GDP for at least the last decade. The majority of remittances are processed through commercial banks. There have been no plans to change investment remittance policies in recent times.

Sovereign Wealth Funds

Namibia does not have a Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF). The Government Institution Pension Fund (GIPF) provides retirement and benefits for employees in the service of the Namibian government as well as institutions established by an act of the Namibian parliament.

While Namibian companies are generally open to foreign investment, government-owned enterprises have generally been closed to all investors (Namibian and foreign), with the exception of joint ventures discussed below. More than 90 State Owned Enterprises (SOEs, also known as parastatals) include a wide variety of commercial companies, financial institutions, regulatory bodies, educational institutions, boards, and agencies. Generally, employment at SOEs is highly sought after because their remuneration packages are not bound by public service constraints. Parastatals provide most essential services, such as telecommunications, transport, water, and electricity. The following are the most prominent SOEs:

  • Air Namibia (air carrier)
  • Namibia Airports Company (airport management company)
  • Namibia Institute of Pathology (medical laboratories)
  • Namibia Wildlife Resorts (tourism)
  • Namport (maritime port authority)
  • Nampost (postal and courier services)
  • Namwater (water sanitation and provisioning)
  • Roads Contractor Company
  • Telecom Namibia (primarily fixed-line) and MTC (mobile communications)
  • TransNamib (rail company)
  • NamPower (electricity generation and transmission)
  • Namcor (national petroleum company)
  • Epangelo (mining)

The government owns numerous other enterprises, from media ventures to a fishing company. In December 2009, the Minister of Mines and Energy inaugurated Epangelo Mining, a wholly government-owned mining company that owns 7 to 10 percent of each extractive industry operation established since 2009 through new investments or mergers and acquisitions. Parastatals own assets worth approximately 40 percent of GDP and most receive subsidies from the government. Some SOEs have been perennially unprofitable and have only managed to stay solvent with government subsidies. In industries where private companies compete with SOEs (e.g., tourism and fishing), SOEs are sometimes perceived to receive favorable concessions from the government. Foreign investors have participated in joint ventures with the government in a number of sectors, including mobile telecommunications and mining. In 2015, the Namibian president created a new Ministry of Public Enterprises intended to improve the management and performance of SOEs.

Privatization Program

Namibia does not currently have a privatization program.

Most large firms, including SOEs, have well defined (and publicized) social responsibility programs that provide assistance in areas such as education, health, environmental management, sports, and SME development. Many firms include Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) programs within their larger Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs. Firms operating in the mining sector – Namibia’s most important industry – generally have visible CSR programs that focus on education, community resource management and environmental sustainability, health, and BEE. Many Namibian firms have HIV/AIDS workplace programs to educate their employees about how to prevent contracting and spreading the virus/disease. Some firms also provide anti-retroviral treatment programs beyond what may be covered through government and private insurance systems.

The Anti-Corruption Act of 2003 created an Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), which began operations in 2006. The ACC attempts to complement civil society’s anti-corruption programs and support existing institutions such as the Ombudsman’s Office and the Office of the Attorney General. Anti-corruption legislation is in place to combat public corruption. In a nationwide survey commissioned by the ACC and released in December 2011, corruption was listed at the second-most important development challenge facing Namibia (12.8 percent, after unemployment at 39.6 percent). Over half (54 percent) of survey respondents rated corruption as “very high”, although relatively few professed a personal experience with corruption.

Namibia has signed and ratified the UN Convention against Corruption and the African Union’s African Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption. Namibia has also signed the Southern African Development Community’s Protocol against Corruption.

Resources to Report Corruption

Paulus Noa
Namibia Anti Corruption Commission
Corner of Montblanc & Groot Tiras Street, Windhoek

Namibia is a stable multiparty and multiracial democracy. The protection of human rights is enshrined in the Namibian constitution, and the government generally respects those rights. Political violence is rare and damage to commercial projects and/or installations as a result of political violence is considered unlikely. The State Department’s Country Report on Human Rights for Namibia provides additional information. Link: www.state.gov/documents/organization/265496.pdf 

The Namibian constitution allows for the formation of independent trade unions to protect workers’ rights and to promote sound labor relations and fair employment practices. However, the labor law prohibits workers in “essential services” from joining unions and does not specifically provide for the right of trade unions or federations of trade unions to establish or join confederations. Although the law provides for the right to conduct legal strikes and the right to bargain collectively, several provisions limit or restrict these rights. Certain types of workers, such as certain civil service and public service employees, members of the armed forces, and police are excluded from collective bargaining. Legal strike actions may occur only after the lapse of a period of 30 days from the date the dispute was referred to conciliation, the provision of a further 48 hours’ notice, and a determination by the conciliator that the dispute cannot be resolved by conciliation. The law only allows strike actions related to disputes of interest. Economic and social issues, political, and sympathy strikes are prohibited.

Namibia has ratified all of the International Labor Organization’s fundamental conventions. Businesses operating within export processing zones are required to adhere to the Labor Act.

The 2007 Labor Act contained a provision that prohibited the hiring of temporary or contract workers (“labor hire”), but the provision was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. The Labor Amendment Act of 2012 introduced strict regulations with respect to the use of temporary workers, according to which temporary workers must generally receive equal compensation and benefits as non-temporary workers.

Child labor in Namibia may occur in certain sectors such as domestic work, but its occurrence and prevalence is difficult to verify. Although Namibia has ratified all key international conventions concerning child labor, there continue to be gaps in Namibia’s legal framework.

There is a shortage of specialized skilled labor in Namibia. Employers often cite labor productivity and the shortage of skilled labor as the biggest obstacles to business growth. The 2015-16 Global Competitiveness Report ranked Namibia 85th out of 148 economies, up from 88th in the previous year. Namibia scored well for its macroeconomic environment, but was rated poorly for the quality of its higher education, technological readiness, innovation and market size. An inadequately educated workforce, access to financing, and poor work ethic in the labor force are listed in the report as the most problematic factors for doing business.

The government offers manufacturing companies special tax deductions of up to 25 percent if they provide technical training to employees. The government will also reimburse companies for costs directly related to employee training under approved conditions.

As of April 1, 2014, the Namibian government implemented a Vocational Education and Training (VET) levy to facilitate and encourage vocational education and training. The levy, which is payable to the Namibia Training Authority (NTA), is imposed on every employer with an annual payroll of at least NAD 1,000,000 (approximately USD 70,000), at the rate of 1 percent of the employer’s total annual payroll. The NTA will collect and administer the levy and will use the funds to provide financial and technical assistance to employers, vocational training providers, employees, students, and other bodies to promote vocational education and training.

The United States has had an Investment Incentive Agreement with Namibia since 1990. Under the agreement, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is the USG entity that provides political risk insurance and credit facilities to qualified U.S. investors in Namibia. Namibia is also a member of the World Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy

Host Country Statistical Source USG or International Statistical Source USG or International Source of Data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD) 2014 $ 12.9 billion 2015 $ 11.5 billion www.worldbank.org/en/country 
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical source USG or international statistical source USG or International Source of Data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) 2014 $ 5 million 2015 $ 3 million BEA data available at http://bea.gov/international/direct_investment_
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) 2014 NA 2015 $ 2 BEA data available at http://bea.gov/international/direct_investment_
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP 2013 35% 2014 NA NA

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI

Data not available.
Table 4: Sources of Portfolio Investment

Data not available.

Caroline Dow
Economic/Commercial Officer
14 Lossen Street, Windhoek, Namibia

2017 Investment Climate Statements: Namibia
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U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future