Stratecon Socio-Economic Study (2018)

Economic Assessment of the Development of a Phosphate-Based Industry in Namibia.


Stratecon Applied Economic Research| 2018


Statement by Stratecon:

This research has been sponsored by NMP and covers a statistically developed hypothetical case study based on the development of an integrated fertiliser industry through the dredging of phosphate rock from the known resources along the Namibian Coast. Detractors may find motivation for inferring reporting bias. This is to be expected but there is no intent of bias from the authors. The authors hope that policy makers will recognise the potential importance of the available opportunity. Stratecon accepted this assignment on the clear condition that the research direction and scope would be dictated by ethical considerations and not by the wishes of the sponsors. This was accepted by NMP. Stratecon has no financial interest in NMP, LLNP or phosphate in Namibia.


Executive Summary

All plants and animals require phosphorus (P), an essential macronutrient. The major source of phosphorus is phosphate rock (PR), a phosphate- bearing mineral which is a finite and nonrenewable natural resource.

Some countries have abundant phosphate rock reserves and have benefited as a result. Morocco, the US state of Florida and Tunisia, to name a few, have employment in the tens of thousands and receive significant contributions to GDP from phosphate mining and beneficiation.

In Namibia there are known resources of phosphate rock lying on the ocean floor. This could benefit Namibia, just as it has benefited other countries with similar resources. This report sets out to analyse the economic benefits that could accrue to Namibia from opening the country to an incipient phosphate industry.

It is recognised that a complete industry is not setup over-night, it is a process which evolves over time. This would also be the case with a Namibian phosphate industry. The industry would expand in discrete steps as cost and market information becomes more certain within the Namibian context. First there would be the need for dredging and basic beneficiation.

Firms would need to establish plants and secure markets. This could be followed by additional beneficiation which would also need additional expenditure on factories and securing of markets for these products. There is, finally, the option to expand into advanced levels of beneficiation.


The analysis includes:

1. The relevant Namibian policy environment. This was to ensure that the economic evaluation was done in the appropriate policy context. Vision 2030, related National Development Plan (NDP) documents and the Harambee Prosperity Plan were used for this purpose.

2. A time dimension to simulate the rolling out of the phosphate industry with increasingdegrees of beneficiation. For this study, this was assumed to commence in 2012 and culminating in an integrated fertilizer industry by 2016. The purpose of making the analysis historic was to be able to base the economic estimates on known economic foundations.

3. The potential for improved agricultural productivity in subsistence farming because it is an important policy imperative.


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