90% of Namibian gemstones still exported rough
Maihapa Ndjavera –
New Era Live Namibia –
Daily national newspaper owned by the government of Namibia –
Trade minister Lucia Iipumbu stated that more than 90% of the gemstones leave Namibia in a rough form, which translates into a loss of jobs and revenue for the domestic economy. Gemstones are precious or semi-precious stones that, once cut and polished, are used in jewellery.
“Data has proved that the Namibian economy depends primarily on the mining sector; therefore, since independence, government has deliberately set to incentivise value addition and manufacturing, which is a key objective in the Growth at Home Execution Strategy,” said Iipumbu on Wednesday at the graduation ceremony for gemstone students for 2021 and 2022. The graduation is the first kind to be held by the ministry.
Namibia has struggled with a high youth unemployment rate, high levels of poverty and inequality, thus local value addition remains imperative. The mining industry currently accounts for about 10% of gross domestic product (GDP), 40% of export revenue and 7% of annual government revenue.
Gemstones cutting and polishing training takes place every year for six months at the trade ministry’s Karibib Gemstones Centre in the Erongo region. This training, said Iipumbu, is one of the ministry’s key interventions, rolled to ensure the creation of a viable and sustainable entrepreneurship ecosystem.
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