International investment, mostly South African, has historically played an important role in Namibia. In addition, there is significant UK and US investment in mining. Five international oil and gas distribution companies operate in Namibia. Otherwise, foreign investment is negligible. In December 1990, foreign investment legislation was liberalized. In April 1993, Namibia announced a program of private-sector investment incentives that included lower taxes, grants, and development loans. In 1994, the government created an export processing zone at Walvis Bay. Namibia's goal is to create an infrastructure that will serve as a reexport center for southern Africa, including Angola, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Botswana.
Annual foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to Namibia peaked at $153.4 million in 2000, up from $84 million in 1997. In 2001, FDI inflow decreased to $99.2 million.