By Marshallino Beukes
THE Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI)’s Swakopmund branch is in the thick of things preparing for their annual Swakopmund International Trade Expo (SWAITEX), slated for 10-13 October 2018 at The Dome.
During an interview with the Swakopmund branch executive chairman, Paul Ndjambula this week, the NCCI expressed satisfaction with the preparations thus far, noting that they started planning the event six months ago.
Ndjambula indicated that although SWAITEX is one of the newest and smallest expos in the country, their main focus is on quality and thus feedback from previous exhibitors i.e. nationally and internationally, is very positive as these exhibitors tend to return year after year.
“Our focus on quality furthermore ensures that everybody – exhibitors and visitors go home happy and satisfied,” he noted.
A total of 153 exhibitors showcased their products and services at SWAITEX last year, occupying a total of 198 stalls. This year, they are planning to have about 230 stalls engaged.
Ndjambula however expressed his concern regarding the current economic situation which is currently being experienced globally, remarking that Expos are hardest hit.
With the dire economic situation in mind, the organisers have decided not to increase stall-tariffs for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), but corporate companies will see an increase of 8%-10%.
“These small and medium businesses indeed need the platform to showcase their goods and services and exposure at SWAITEX can surely boost their businesses,” he explained.
So far, more than 60 bookings have been finalised and Ndjambula is positive that they will reach their target of 230 stalls, come the deadline.
Various Embassies have also expressed their interest in attaining stalls, with the United States’ Embassy having already booked their spot. Other Embassies that have booked stalls are the Embassy of Brazil and France. Stalls are still available at an affordable amount.
As part of the drive to attract foreign direct investment and to market the Erongo region as an attractive investment hub, SWAITEX, in partnership with Conference Link and the Namibian Government, under the auspices of the Office of the Erongo Governor, will be hosting the first ever Erongo Economic Conference 2018, under the theme “Local Economic Growth through International Trade” on 9 September 2018 at The Dome Conference Centre, Swakopmund.
The organisers said the aim of this conference is to highlight investment opportunities to local, regional and international investors in targeted sectors that have the potential to contribute towards economic growth and job creation.
A fundraising Gala dinner, which was slated for 1 September was postponed until 15 September. According to Ndjambula, this event serves to express the NCCI Swakopmund’s gratitude towards their sponsors.
Last year a total of N$800 000 was raised through pledges and donations, he noted. Erongo Red and NCCI Swakopmund signed a Memorandum of Understanding during 2016, allowing the electricity contributor to become the main sponsor of the event to the tune of N$1.5 million over a period of three years.
The NCCI Swakopmund branch chairman furthermore indicated approximately 13 400 people visited SWAITEX last year and this year they are targeting a total of about 17 000 visitors.
‘This will most definitely bring a boost to the town and the region’s economy, as these visitors need to eat, sleep, fill up their vehicles tanks and also relax,’ he said.
Ndjambula stressed that the business fraternity should be relevant in this current economic crisis and market their products and services viciously to embrace modern technology, as marketing and exposure is key to a successful business.
“Erongo region and Namibia at large should take the bull by the horns in these hard times, unite and work together as a nation in order to reach the light at the end of the tunnel, as it is not over yet,” was Ndjambula’s message to the Nation.
The NCCI Swakopmund branch under the leadership of Heinrich Hafeni at the time , began SWAITEX in 2013 in a small tent at the Swakopmund Municipality’s parking lot, with only 40 exhibitors.
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