By Hilary Mare
DR Leake Hangala, Executive Chairman of Hangala Group has challenged the business sector to join government in finding ways of turning around the fortunes of the economy
Addressing delegates at the Ongwediva Trade Fair fundraising gala dinner held last week, Hangala invited leaders, both at local and national levels, to inculcate and embrace a culture that promotes entrepreneurship and partnerships.
“It cannot continue like this. We must try to see how to create employment, including establishing industries for which I am sure local authorities will find land to locate them. We must boost our agricultural production by embarking on food processing industries. I have been encouraged by the discovery of the Ohangwena Aquifer which I was told, given capital and technology, has water sufficient for hundreds of years to come and can be used for both domestic and irrigation purposes. Let the water from that aquifer complement those from the Kavango and Orange Rivers and be used to make Namibia a leading nation in food for our people and animals production.
“We must also not be intimidated and shun away from efforts and policies that will help to propel majority Namibians to have direct ownership, management and benefit from the productive sectors of the nation’s economy, be it mining, financial, blue economy, agriculture, tourism, manufacturing as well as service sectors. We must strive to have our own entrepreneurs who will become industrialists and big co-operate owners. These industrialists and corporate owners will create employment and generate wealth because governments do not generate wealth but entrepreneurs do! They will also produce ‘made in Namibia’ for export and foreign currency earnings,” he said.
Encouraging partnerships, Hangala went on to highlight that Namibians need to recognize that no dream ever becomes reality through the action of a single agent, however potent or visionary.
Hangala explained that in local authorities, it means joining hands with the business sector as well as other citizens, making the most of home-grown talent and resources.
“This also includes attracting like-minded foreign investors. Whether we would wish it in theory or not, Namibia’s economy must be an open one, for our domestic markets are simply not large enough for us to turn our backs to the world. To attract foreign investors, we must put in place processes and systems that are attractive and compelling. Those from abroad with skills, capital and know-how that we need have no shortage of alternative destinations to choose from in today’s world.
“I fear that here we can sometimes be our own worst enemies. I have seen too many cases where our decision-making concerning proposed domestic or foreign investments Projects has been sluggish or too slow, resulting in forfeiture of opportunities by default. I have seen too many cases where that decision-making has not been sufficiently transparent. And I have seen too many cases where it has been driven by political considerations rather than those of economics or efficiency. I do think things are getting better, however, we do not have any more the luxury of tolerating inefficiency in our administrations,” explained Hangala.
He further stated that Namibia therefore needs to promote good partnerships between public and private sectors.
“Partnerships have a win-win outcome that brings capital, skills transfer and technology as well as share both in risks and rewards. In all of the key areas of Local Authority jurisdiction and delivery, local government must do more, and can do more if it finds the right partnerships with businesses which can serve as force multipliers. Having spent much of my life on both sides of the equation, first in government, then in the private sector, I can say with some confidence that the divide between public and business sectors need not be large, that the bridges between them can readily be built, and that if we succeed in doing so, we will find that our resources and results are not merely doubled, but increased exponentially.”
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015