… Deputy minister dazzles SWAITEX gala dinner
By Ashley Smith
DEPUTY Mines and Energy Minister, Kornelia Shilunga, says Namibian businesses must become innovative, in order to stay competitive, amid the country’s economic hardships.
Shilunga was speaking at the Swakopmund International Trade Expo (SWAITEX) gala dinner last Saturday, held at The Dome indoor complex in the seaside town.
The SWAITEX was created by the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) Swakopmund Branch, to provide an opportunity for business and community stakeholders to showcase their products and services to the public, while at the same time forging networks and business linkages for economic growth. From its very humble beginnings in a tent in the Swakopmund Municipality parking lot in 2013, SWAITEX has become a permanent fixture on the Erongo region events calendar and attracts many visitors and investors. This year’s SWAITEX, to be held from 11 to 14 October at The Dome, is taking place under the theme ‘Embracing innovation and technology’.
Erongo Red is the main sponsor of SWAITEX and is sponsoring the event to the tune of N1.5 million over the next three years. It handed over a cheque of N$500 000 to the organisers on Saturday evening during the glittering event, which also saw FNB Namibia sponsoring this year’s SWAITEX with a N$75 000 donation.
“It is during these times that business must become innovative, to stay competitive, and embrace technology trends, to improve business services and save costs. I have no doubt in my mind that trade fairs, in general, and this expo, in particular, have an important role to play in the marketing of the country’s products and in presenting our market to traders,” Shilunga said.
“The government of Namibia, therefore, supports these events, because of the value which such trade fairs add to our efforts towards increasing local production, import substitution and increasing the export of Namibian products.” Shilunga said that government remains committed to the journey it has undertaken to industrialise the economy, and turning Namibia into a true manufacturing, transport and logistics hub in Southern Africa.
“This requires increased investments in the key sectors of energy, water, housing and manufacturing, to facilitate further investments, which will make the industrialisation of our economy and the creation of transport and logistics hub,” Shilunga said.
She added that her ministry is the lead State agency, when it comes to attracting private investment in resource exploration and development, through the provision of geoscientific information on minerals and energy resources, and the management of an equitable and secure title system for the mining, petroleum and geothermal industries.
“The mining sector is the largest contributor to the national GDP and one of the biggest sectors in the Erongo region.”
Swakopmund Mayor, Paulina Nashilundo, said the NCCI branch in the town should be congratulated for its efforts, especially in terms of providing opportunities for businesses.
Former mayor and current Swakopmund Constituency Councillor, Juuso Kambueshe, who is the patron of the SWAITEX, also delivered a speech on behalf of Erongo Regional Governor, Cleophas Mutjavikua, at the gala dinner.
He said that the SWAITEX has a rich heritage and has become one of the leading trade expos on the Namibian calendar. Erongo RED Public Relations and Marketing Officer, Benjamin Nangombe, who read a speech on behalf of the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Fessor Mbango, said the energy utility is a great supporter of businesses and unlocking opportunities.
“This expo comes at the right time, when the country needs to rethink how we do business,” Nangombe said, while urging the business community to embrace new technology.
He added that local businesses should not only endeavour to business locally, but should also aim for international markets. NCCI Swakopmund Branch Executive Chairman, Paul-Tangeni Ndjambula, said that the SWAITEX gala dinner raised N$813 000, through pledges and an auction, supported by the coastal business community in attendance.
“This year we will be introducing a theatre area with a capacity of 100 seated people, to be used on a rotation basis for shows and presentations. This area will also cater for art and entertainment. We have invited and are expecting the Head of State, His Excellency, Dr Hage Geingob, to do the official opening on 11 October. We are extending invitations to all Namibians to travel and visit Swakopmund in their numbers, during the SWAITEX,” Ndjambula added.
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