The Investment Centre is Namibia's official investment promotion and facilitation office. Established in 1990, the Centre focuses on promotion of foreign and domestic investment and provides a service to all investors from the inquiry to the operational stage.
It is the first point of call for potential investors, providing general information packages and tailor-made advice on the investment opportunities, incentives, and procedures. It facilitates interaction between Government and the private sectors and assists investors in minimising bureaucratic obstacles, working closely with key productive sector ministries, as well as service and regulatory bodies. The Centre also facilitates in investment-related procedures, in particular work and residence permits, customs assistance, incentives and other approvals.
As part of the initiative to accelerate the pace of foreign and domestic private investment in the Namibian economy, the Centre has intensified efforts to promote contacts between overseas and local investors. These include strengthening the awareness of and access to institutional investors and foreign funding sources and increasing exposure of local firms and entrepreneurs to "best practice" scenarios.
In addition, the Centre provides advice to Government on investment trends, the policy on the environment and the need for new strategies or incentives.
The ODC runs the EPZ secretariat, a dedicated clearinghouse, which handles investor's applications for EPZ status with great ease, speed and efficiency. Its team ensures that a proper
t the request of entrepreneurs. To complement the EPZ regime and diversify the offshore activities in sector, Namibia is currently advanced in programmes aimed at, establishing an Offshore Financial Services Industry. The ODC is central to these programmes.ly filled application form is processed within a minimum of one week and a maximum of one month. The ODC also erects individual factory shells anywhere in the country aThe Offshore Development Company(ODC), is the flagship Namibia's tax-free Export Processing Zones (EPZ) regime. Established as a private company with minority government shareholding, the ODC monitors, regulates and promotes the Namibia EPZ as a vehicle for export led industrialisation of the economy and as an opportunity for investors, both local and foreign, to make money in Africa's only tax haven.
The ODC is the investor's bridge to the nation's power centre; the passage to the country's business and financial circles, the key to Namibia's rich and untapped opportunities and the link into Africa's most generous incentives for export-oriented manufacturers.
The country has developed an excellent reputation as an all-round investment location. In particular, the excellent infrastructures, availability of finance, bureaucratic ease, flexible rules of licensing and access to foreign exchange earned Namibia high ratings in independent comparative analyses of Southern African countries.
The London Economic Intelligence Unit 1997 has awarded Namibia a Country Risk rating in the B category of 40 points, which is the top score for Sub-Saharan Africa. Political stability, a low crime rate and workable labour relations round off the attractiveness of Namibia's enabling environment.
Furthermore, the Africa Competiveness Report of the World Economic Forum has just awarded Namibia a fourth place ranking in the Competiveness Index for the whole of Africa
Namibia can offer:
Within the sub-continent Namibia has got a comparative advantage of preferential access to transport and trade links with the 130 million inhabitants of the sub-region of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Furthermore, markets comprising an additional 125 million within the second trade grouping of the Community of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Namibia is also a member of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and as such enjoys duty-free access to these markets. Most importantly, the country is a neighbour to, and traditional trading partner of South Africa, with its 45 million consumer market.
Namibia's strategic location and highly competitive package of incentives should also be of great interest to manufacturers eager to penetrate the emerging and potential lucrative markets of Angola and the People's Democratic Republic of Congo.
The quick and efficient deep water harbour of Walvis Bay, a growth point and link into the major road transport corridors into neighbouring countries, including the Trans-Caprivi and Trans-Kalahari Highways, complete Namibia's appeal as a gateway location.
On the international scene, Namibia's trade advantages are defined by its Lome IV membership, with privileged, duty-free and quota free access to European markets for most raw materials and manufactured products.
Moreover, the General System of Preferences (GSP) agreements, provide access to the North American markets at their zero tariffs or tariffs better than Most Favoured Nations (MFN) status.
Namibia's Foreign Investment Act of 1990 provides investors with guarantees in respect of investment security, repatriation of capital, access to foreign currency and international arbitration in case of dispute.
For foreign investors interested in this virgin territory, an attractive enabling environment, highly competitive fiscal benefits, the opportunity to overcome restrictive barriers into the EU and American markets, as well as operating in almost absolute industrial calm, Namibia is definitely the place to be.