By Moustafa Daly
Namibia has joined the countries that offer residency-by-investment programs on the African continent. Foreigners can now obtain Namibian residency by purchasing a property worth at least $316,000 at an approved project in Namibia’s second largest city, Walvis Bay.
The pilot program, which is launched with the assistance of Henley & Partners, will enable applicants to obtain a renewable five-year visa to Namibia within three months of applying.
“The program is immediately available for investors/applicants through investment into the Presidents Links Estate which is a ring-fenced project allowing foreign nationals the ability to invest into the project and in return receive residence rights and a work permit for Namibia,” explains Dominic Volek, group executive committee member and group head of private clients at Henley & Partners.
Why is Namibia launching RBI now?
Much like all governments that launch RBI programs, Namibia hopes its program will boost its economy by attracting foreign investment, create jobs, stimulate economic growth, and potentially increase tax revenue, says Volek.
Additionally, Volek continues, the country is striving to boost its tourism sector, and attract skilled professionals and entrepreneurs to the country to address skills shortages and enhance the competitiveness of its economy.
Namibia is betting on its strategic location and relatively developed and stable business environment to attract investors, among other benefits: “It provides many opportunities for international investors seeking a foothold and growth on the African continent, including tax incentives, syndicate financing, and a one-stop bureau service for international companies,” according to the official announcement.
What the RCBI program in Namibia is hoping to achieve
The main target of the program, at least in its pilot edition, is to attract foreign investors from nearby South Africa, one of the continent’s biggest economies from which Namibia gained independence in 1990.
“We believe there will be significant demand for Namibia RBI from South African HNWIs both in South Africa as well as the large South African expat populations in places like Dubai, London, Singapore and Hong Kong,” says Volek.
“Similarly we see a lot of interest from German HWNIs and other European nations. Given the number of strategic investment opportunities across various sectors in Namibia and interest from the US, China, India and the Middle East, we also expect investors from these regions to participate.”
Mauritius is Namibia’s closest competition
Mauritius, an Indian Ocean island off the coast of southern Africa, which also has one of Africa’s few higher-middle-income economies, offers its own RBI options to investors, with a minimum investment amount of $375,000 to qualify for a 20-year residency.
Mauritius is considered the main competition by Namibia – but not the only one.
“The most natural competitor for the Namibian RBI program would be Mauritius, potentially some of the Golden Visa programs in Europe such as Portugal, Greece and Spain as well as the options available in Thailand (Thailand Elite) and Malaysia (MM2H),” predicts Volek.
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