Namibia has became the first African country to export beef to the United States of America -U.S.
Namibia’s state-owned Meatco controls 50% of the country’s livestock industry
Namibia’s beef exports will target the huge fast food industry in the U.S.
Namibia recently became the first African country to export beef to the U.S.
According to reports, in late February, Namibia’s state-owned Meatco sent 25 tons of beef to Philadelphia, after nearly two decades of arguments over safety regulations and logistics.
“In 2002 and again in 2005, the government of Namibia initiated negotiations on the export of meat [beef] products to the United States, with the intention to exporting boneless raw beef products such as primal cuts, chuck, blade, and beef trimming,” said Namibia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah. “Today, 18-years later, we are able to finally export meat to the lucrative and big U.S. market. This signifies how ties between Namibia and the United States of America continues to be strengthened through different bilateral agreements.”
Namibia is preparing to export 860 tons of beef to the U.S. this year, then increase the deliveries to 5,000 tons by 2025.
The average American eats 120 kgs [265 pounds] of meat each year, making the U.S. the world’s biggest meat consumer.
“It was therefore an ambitious undertaking for Namibia… competing for a share in a [U.S.] market claimed and defended by the developed beef producing countries of the world,” Nandi-Ndaitwah added.
Nandi-Ndaitwah also said Namibia’s beef exports will target the huge fast food industry in the U.S.
“The significance of exports of Namibian beef is more than just adding yet another high-quality ingredient to the American people’s plate; it marks the success of two countries in the realization of win-win cooperation,” said Namibian Agriculture Minister Alpheus Naruseb.
In 2019, Namibia exported about 12,400 metric tons of meat to Norway, Britain, the European Union and China.
“Namibia will benefit economically from tapping into the largest consumer market with purchasing power of $13 trillion, and U.S. consumers will benefit from access to Namibia’s high-quality, free-range, grass-fed beef,” said U.S. ambassador to Namibia, Lisa Johnson.
While agriculture only contributes about 5% to Namibia’s entire economy, farming – including the raising of cattle – accounts for almost two-thirds of the population’s income.
Namibia beef exports to the U.S. are duty-free under terms of the African Growth and Opportunity Act.
Namibia’s livestock industry is valued at about $254 million annually, with Meatco owning about 50% of the market.
While Namibia has been engulfed in recession the past three years, the International Monetary Fund projects the economy will grow this year by 1.6% — due to the acceleration of mining production and drought mitigation.
In 2017, 2018 and 2019, Namibia’s gross domestic product growth showed losses of 0.9%, 0.1% and 0.2%, respectively.
However, IMF also warned that its growth projection could be reduced due to a potential fall in global growth as a result of the coronavirus.
IMF recommended that Namibia take steps to stabilize its public debt over time and enact reforms to support growth and revive structural reforms to increase employment.
“In the absence of structural reforms, growth would strengthen only gradually over the medium term,” the IMF stated.