WINDHOEK, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- Namibia should maximize the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) to rev up industrialization through innovation and manufacturing so as to boost trade and employment creation, a UN official has said.
Philippe Scholtes, managing director of United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), made the remarks on the sidelines at the launch of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE) here Wednesday.
SACREEE was established in 2015 by SADC member states to trigger the efforts of attainment of sustainable energy for its citizens.
According to Scholtes, although the official 2011 Namibia Population and Housing Census puts the country's population at 2.1 million, which is considered small, the country should take the larger economy and population beyond its borders into account.
"Namibia plays a comparative advantage due to its rich natural resources, sea connectivity through Walvis Bay Port and interlinked transport network to the rest of the SADC nations," Scholtes said. "Free trade is therefore a groundbreaking venture in terms of innovation and manufacturing for Namibia; if it looks beyond its population."
The UN official said that robust investment in youth driven-innovation and entrepreneurship can further accelerate free trade with other African countries due to its creativity and technological spread.
"Industrial organisations and innovators should also see how the element of sustainability should be part of the supply value chain," Scholtes added.
He also said that economic growth and trade will however only be realized through continued collaboration and coordination between domestic enterprises and government.
"Robust institutional support and skills development are fundamental for commercial triumph. If there is no constructive dialogue, it will hinder development efforts and economic growth," he noted.
Signed by 44 African countries in March 2018 in Rwanda, the AfCFTA is aimed at creating a tariff-free continent to propagate local businesses, create jobs and boost intra-African trade.