German food production investor charmed by Namibia
Managing director for Bremen based Hintz Foodstuff Production GmbH and prospective investor, Thomas Hintz expressed a liking for investment-destination Namibia as he currently continues with his fact finding mission in the country.
The Villager caught up with Hintz at the plush Windhoek Country Club and Resort where he, together with a couple of companies from the German Federal State of Bremen, was meeting with a Namibian delegation “to pursue common interests in identified areas” of investment.
“My first impression as emphasised by various people is that your country is looking for investments and is doing its very best to prepare the climate, welcoming investors and so on. In my opinion, this country is actively doing something to attract investors,” he said.
Hintz Foodstuff Production GmbH, he said, is in the business of manufacturing and processing drinking powder from natural ingredients, cocoa and coffee.
He has taken a liking for the local climate which he said is good for cocoa which entails cocoa plantations, providing a possible point of entry.
In light of the criticism that Namibia is a small market that is an anathema to huge investments, Hintz says it’s something he agrees with but on the other hand the strategic location of the country is a positive.
“With five neighboring countries it does make it attractive as a base to supply these neighboring countries as well,” he said.
The Villager also wanted to establish if the current economic situation coupled with downgrades witnessed this past year provided opportunities for business in the long term.
“Obviously when you are looking at the last few years from the figures that I have seen, it’s not really a contraction, it’s just a reduction in growth. You are still growing, albeit at a small rate than before. It’s nothing that would worry me in the long term because in the short term things might go down but in the medium term they will go up again. This is nothing that would influence my long term strategic planning,” he said.
Hintz’s business is mechanized to a certain extent, he said, and thus demands skilled labour but the manufacturing process would still need more hands, opening up the prospect of taking in human capital.
“We need manpower and Namibia would be an ideal country for that. This is a beautiful country and it would be my sincere hope that you continue on the path that you have started,” he said noting that his business is in northern Africa and the Arab region.
Meanwhile, presidential advisor in private sector interface constitutional affairs, Inge Zaamwani-Kamwi, said notwithstanding the good political, cultural and social cooperation over the years, Namibian exports to Bremen stands only at EUR 11.2 million euros.
She said this figure presents opportunities to explore how best to improve the level of exports and imports between the two countries.
Namibian exports to Germany stands at EUR 144,539,000 million while imports from Germany to Namibia: stand at EUR 67,601,000 million while Namibian-German trade volume stands at EUR 212,140,000 million.
“In this regard, we welcome German businesses to participate in our industrialization efforts in partnership with Namibian businesses. You have the experience, the capital and the technological know-how.”
“The German focus on skills development through vocational training is another area, which is well suited to our current developmental phase. We therefore urge you to consider investing in privately owned technical schools and centers of excellence,” she said.