Buying and Selling

flag Namibia Namibia: Buying and Selling

In this page: Market Access Procedures | Reaching the Consumers | Distributing a Product | E-commerce | Organizing Goods Transport | Identifying a Supplier


Market Access Procedures

International Conventions
Member of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
International Economic Cooperation
Member of Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)

Member of Southern African Development Community (SADC)

Member of South African Customs Union (SACU)

Member of the World Trade Organization (WTO)

Member of the African, Carribean and Pacific Agreement

Member of the Cotonou Agreement

African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) beneficiary country

Preferential market access to 34 countries for Namibian products, under the Generalised System of Preferences

Preferential trade agreement with Zimbabwe

Economic partnership agreement signed with the EU in June 2016

Non Tariff Barriers
Beyond customs delays, the government has imposed a number of import and export restrictions, mostly on agricultural products. White maize, wheat, mahangu (pearl millet), and products derived from these three grains are controlled. Controlled grain crops can only be imported or exported with permits issued by the Agronomic Board and the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MWAF). For each controlled grain there are specific restrictions, but restrictions do not include price controls.
Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
Duty rates in Namibia vary from 0% to 45% with an average duty rate of 18.74%.

Customs duties are payable on the importation of goods into Namibia from non-Southern African Customs Union (SACU) countries. Rates depend on the tariff heading of the goods and may vary between 0% and 30%. Excise duties are payable by manufacturers and exporters on certain items like alcoholic beverages.

Customs Classification
Namibia is a member of the World Customs organisation and does comply with the harmonised customs system.
Import Procedures
All imports are subject to licensing, but most licenses are automatically granted. A limited number of products are subject to non-automatic licenses, including: medicines; chemicals; frozen and chilled fish and meat; live animals and genetic materials; controlled petroleum products; firearms and explosives; diamonds, gold and other minerals; and seemingly all second-hand goods such as clothing and motor vehicles.
Importing Samples
There is no specific procedures for samples shipments. Sample shipments require the same set of documents as a normal shipment.
The value of goods should still appear on the commercial invoice indicating "for customs clearance purpose only'' on the invoice.
Zero value invoices are not acceptable.
For Further Information
Ministry of Finance - Customs and Excise
Business Portal for Africa

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Reaching the Consumers

Marketing opportunities

Main Advertising Agencies
Ogilvy Namibia
Adforce Namibia
Space Dimensions
Advantage Y&R

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Distributing a Product

Evolution of the Sector
Namibia has a small population (about 2.3 million people) covering a huge stretch of desert on Southern Africa’s west coast. About 40 percent of the population lives in urban areas, which consists of a few urban centers and surroundings where most trade is modernised.

According to A.T Kearney 2016 report, Namibia’s high GDP per capita (just under $11,000) and relatively large affluent population make it a strong location for specialty retail and upmarket offerings. Many retailers have already entered. This is not to say there is no space for good and better offerings, branded concepts, high quality, or greater value concepts. The middle class is definitely growing, as are consumer spending. To enter here, a retailer will have to assess its offering against the competitive environment and see if it can be a valuable addition to the market place.
Market share

Namibia retail market, as the other regional markets, is divided between informal and formal retail. The latter is growing continuously and gaining market shares.
Here are the main giant players in the Namibian market:

Retail Sector Organisations
Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

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Internet access
The number of Internet users reached nearly 800,000, accounting for 31% of the total population in Namibia. While this percentage puts Namibia below the African average (35.2%, Internet World Stats), Internet penetration rate is growing rapidly in the country (37% annual growth between 2017 and 2018, Hootsuite Survey). Internet access is predominantly mobile as in most other Sub-Saharan African countries, with 732,800 active mobile Internet users. Nearly 30% of web traffic comes from desktops and laptops compared with 66% for mobile phones. Nevertheless, the share of web traffic from desktops and laptops grew 45% year-on-year whereas that of mobile fell by 14%.
E-commerce market
E-commerce is in a nascent stage in Namibia and many online shopping platforms that were launched were short-lived due to outdated content and lack of sophisticated and secure payment methods. In fact, many Namibians do not trust websites or feel safe to provide credit card details online. The Namibian government has been working on an electronic transaction and cybercrime bill since 2017; however, the draft bill has been postponed repeatedly due to the public outcry over surveillance concerns. The lack of legal framework brings major limitations to electronic payments and consequently international services such as PayPal do not allow Namibians to receive money. Buy Online Namibia is the largest online retail store in the country and the Pan-African Jumia is among the most popular e-commerce websites. The local online store Zaleka is also quite popular for clothing.
Social media
Namibians are less active on social media than users living in neighbouring Botswana and South Africa. According to a Hootsuite survey, 0.62 million Namibians, which represent 24% of the total population, are active social media users (7% year-on-year increase). The Namibian firm Ohlthaver & List offers a similar estimate of 0.63 million. Most Namibians access their accounts via mobile (22% of total population, 10% year-on-year increase). Facebook is by far the most popular social media in Namibia with nearly all social media users having an account on this platform. Instagram has a better penetration rate than in Botswana and South Africa, with 0.21 million Namibians active users.

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Organizing Goods Transport

Ports of Namibia
Namibia Airports Company
Sea Transport Organisations
Namibia Ports Authority
Air Transport Organisations
Namibia Civil Aviation Authority
Road Transport Organisations
Nambia Roads Authority
Rail Transport Organisations
Namibia National Railway Carrier

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Identifying a Supplier

Type of Production
Namibian manufacturing is inhibited by a small domestic market, dependence on imported goods, limited supply of local capital, widely dispersed population, small skilled labour force and high relative wage rates, as well as subsidised competition from South Africa.

Walvis Bay is a well-developed, deepwater port, and Namibia's fishing infrastructure is most heavily concentrated there. The Namibian Government expects Walvis Bay to become an important commercial gateway to the Southern African region. Namibia also boasts world-class civil aviation facilities and an extensive, well-maintained land transportation network. Construction is underway on two new arteries—the Trans-Caprivi Highway and Trans-Kalahari Highway—which will open up the region's access to Walvis Bay.

According to the Namibian Ministry of Economy, Namibia's manufacturing sector is contributing to about 22% of the GDP.

Business Directories

Multi-sector Directories
Namibia YP - Namibia's business directory

To search directories by industry in Namibia, check out our service Business Directories.

Professional Associations by Sector
13 professional associations listed for Namibia.
Trade Agencies and Their Representations Abroad
Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Namibia Trade Directory
General Professional Associations
The Namibian Manufacturers Association

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Latest Update: April 2024