Global export competitiveness of Namibian hides and skins.

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Namibia University of Science and Technology


Globalisation increases competitive pressure and technological changes. Agribusiness in developing economies experiences these new challenges in an attempt to globalise their operations. These challenges have a continuous effect on the competitiveness of the Namibian economy in the hides and skins sector. It is, therefore, important that the hides and skins subsector prepares for intense competition to sustain and improve its operations. Analysis of hides and skins export competitiveness is thus important to measure overall sectoral performance. The study provides an overview of the global and local hides and skins sector before a discussion on analysed export competitiveness of Namibia’s hides and skins. Four indexes were used to measure Namibia’s hides and skins export competitiveness for 18 years (2001-2018), and this includes, Revealed Comparative Advantage (RCA), Index of Contribution to Trade Balance (CTB), Grubel-Lloyd Index (GLI), and Michaely Index (MI). The analysed results show that Namibia is globally competitive in the production and export of hides and skins. RCA index results reveal that Namibia maintained its comparative advantages for 14 uninterrupted years of the analysed 18- year period. The findings of the CTB index indicate that the hides and skins sector contribution to the overall trade balance is negative and there is no real surplus. The analysis of the GLI index reveals that in general, Namibia exports the same quantity as much as it imports for most of the hides and skins commodities. Results of the Grubel-Lloyd Index indicate that Namibia has a higher complementarity in the production and export of hides and skins. The results of the GLI index also show that Namibia has a great potential to increase its export competitiveness through improved production of hides and skins. A paradigm shift is needed for Namibia to further enhance and maintain its export competitiveness of hides and skins. Overall contribution to trade balance showed a negative trend and this situation should be improved through increased production and export to enhance competitiveness. Increased off-take by improved production will significantly lead to more exports of hides and skins. Communal farmers who are still practicing cultural livestock rearing, keeping large heads of livestock as a sign of wealth, need to be mentored on the importance of commercialising farming practices and value addition to hides and skins. A transformation strategy to change farmers’ traditional farming philosophy should be established to enable farmers to practice commercial farming in a communal set up. Strategies such as frequent monitoring and evaluation, coaching and advice will help to inculcate modern farming practices into farmers’ mind-sets to improve production, processing, and trade. Key role players in the hides and skins sector need to be capacitated through technical, financial, and infrastructural support to improve flying and drying of hides and skins. Value chain actors should be informed of economic importance of hides and skins, how their role (as livestock producers, hides and skins processors) contributes to the quality of end products considering practiced farming systems. The government should formulate policies to regulate the hides and skins sector with tailor-made management strategies at all levels of the value chain. Emphasis should be put on value addition, marketing, skilled workforce, sustainable animal husbandry, disease management strategies, improved slaughtering facilities and practices, preservation and handling procedures, tanning, and processing techniques and facilities.



Competitiveness, Leather value chain, Livestock, Leather sector, Hides and skins


Mawenge,G. (2020). Global export competitiveness of Namibian hides and skins. [Unpublished Masters Thesis]. Namibia University of Science and Technology.