Foreign trade and economic growth in Namibia : a time series analysis
Ogbokor, Cyril Ayetuoma
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Foreign trade is increasingly becoming a powerful tool when it comes to the promotion of economic growth in modern economies. This is especially so in the face of the continued rise of globalisation. In consideration of this fact, this thesis assessed the impact of foreign trade on the growth process of Namibia’s economy for the period stretching from 1990 to 2012. This main objective was further developed into primary, theoretical and empirical objectives. In order to realise these multiple objectives, two modern econometric time series techniques were employed, namely vector autoregressive (VAR) and auto-regression distributed lag (ARDL) models. Based on these two techniques, the following procedures featured during the study: Stationary tests, error correction modelling, co-integration tests, Granger causality tests, generalised impulse response functions and generalised forecast error variance decomposition. The following constitutes the main findings arising from this study: First, the study found that there is a positive relationship among the variables that were investigated. Indeed, this positive relationship suggests that the economy of Namibia can be expanded potentially by means of foreign trade. The result is also in line with economic theory. Secondly, the empirical findings also show that export, foreign direct investment and exchange rate endogenously respond to shocks in economic growth. Thirdly, economic growth itself accounted for most of the innovations that occurred during the period under consideration concerning economic growth. Fourthly, amongst the three explanatory variables used in the model, exports and foreign direct investment contributed more towards innovations in economic growth during the forecast period. Initially, exports and foreign direct investment dominated over the forecast horizon with each contributing almost an equal share of over 5 percent after 12 quarters. Thereafter, exports’ contribution relatively exceeded that of foreign direct investment. Fifthly, it is particularly important to note that the exchange rate variable made the weakest contribution towards explaining economic growth for the forecast period of 24 quarters. In consideration of the general constraints associated with this study, the thesis puts forward a number of proposals for possible further investigation by any theorist who is keen about probing the issue that the thesis investigated. The thesis considers the following as its significant contributions to the existing literature: First, this study primarily examined the relationship between exports and economic growth. By adding the effect of foreign direct investment and exchange rate to the analysis, this study became more comprehensive. This further widens the scope for policymaking for Namibia, as well as other developing economies on a similar route. Secondly, the study employed two modern econometric time series techniques, namely VAR and ARDL models in investigating the research topic under consideration. Most of the related studies that were reviewed either utilised ordinary least squares (OLS) or VAR or ARDL approach on its own. By implication, the results obtained from this study, therefore, are from a technical point of view more robust. Thirdly, through constructive comments, this thesis made valuable contributions to the relevant empirical literature as reviewed during the course of the study. Fourthly, since this study has a focus on Namibia, it provided the opportunity for the thesis to present a comprehensive analysis on issues pertaining to Namibia specifically. Lastly, the various recommendations put forward by this thesis will assist Namibia, as well as other developing countries, on a related path when it comes to formulating policies for the promotion of exports in particular and economic growth in general.