Key Projects of Namibia
The mining industry is the key sector for public–private partnerships in Namibia. The government is increasingly seeking to raise its revenue from these relationships. Since Namibia’s independence in 1990, mining has made up on average 11 per cent of the country’s annual GDP, with diamond mining accounting for around two-thirds (2008). Namdeb, a 50:50 joint venture between the cartel De Beers and the government, is the major public–private diamond venture, conducting almost all the diamond mining in the country. Investment Namibia lists a number of mining investment opportunities the Ministry of Trade and Industry is involved in. For example, Gravity Mining and Investment sought partnerships for exploring the prospects of Haib and Skorpion in the south of Namibia in 2012, with the potential for mining gold, copper and zinc. Gold mining opportunities dominate the Navachab, Karibib/Usakos area, with a public–private partnership at Sandmap North set to go ahead.
In December 2013, the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry approved a public–private partnership subsidy initiative by the Namibian Agronomic Board to subsidise silo constructions in the maize triangle (Otavi, Tsumeb and Grootfontein), matching private sector investment of N$6 million.
Public–private partnerships in Namibia are one feature of the growing economic landscape since independence was declared in the 1990s. Despite the boom in mining industry ventures, the fiscal deficit is growing and living standards remain inadequate in localised areas. PPPs are increasingly sought after for wider social objectives. The World Bank will support Namibia in a Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) to achieve its Fourth National Development Plan that centralises development of state capacity and the private sector. The dedicated Development Bank of Namibia provides funding for infrastructural projects completed by local or state-owned enterprises together with private companies, including direct loans for PPP enterprises. CEO Martin Inkumbi of the Development Bank of Namibia argues that public–private partnerships need to be further developed with regard to revenue streams for projects that go beyond initial capital projections. There is still a degree of resistance to private sector involvement in public services, with concerns over how employment would be affected and how black and gender empowerment could be incorporated into such schemes. Since independence, private finance has been injected into telecoms, power and port expenditure, while large investments in mining, smelting and refining infrastructure have mostly been funded by multinationals.
Examples of public–private participation are limited, but include energy projects, mining, desalination, mobile telecommunications and the Targeted Intervention Programme for Employment and Economic Growth (Tipeeg). The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) has funded more than NAD3 million on public–private partnerships in Namibia with three current private partners – NamPost Savings Bank, Pupkewitz Megabuild and BFS Nampro Fund Manager. Namibia has little in the way of dedicated public–private partnership policy framework, something President Hifikepunye Pohamba has pledged to address. Development achieved via public–private partnerships is in line with Namibia’s Vision 2030 to raise the living standards of the Namibian people to those of the developed world by 2030.