Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) newly re-elected Northern chairman, Tomas Koneka Iindji says the Sadc region has a long way to go in overcoming trade barriers, particularly non-tariff hurdles, in an effort to make inter-regional trade more efficient and attractive.
Iindji said regional regulatory harmonisation is critical in addressing non-tariff barriers but will require a coordinated advocacy plan, if it is to reach decision-makers in the respective member Governments.
“We are already linked through our common cause and our international chamber umbrella bodies but Sadc itself has a long way to go if we want to catch up. We should increase more volume of trade between our communities within Sadc. The volume is not impressive and this is simply not acceptable, and organised business should be addressing it urgently. We need to look to our partners in other regions to see how we can address this challenge,” he said.
Iindji said the fact they (Northern Branch) have already made significant headway in reaching out to their African chamber fraternities, is immensely encouraging and something which the chief executive officer of NCCI, Tarah Shaanika and the team, will be building on in the coming year.
“We will build on the excellent work of the Northern Chamber of Commerce and Industry, where we work together to deliver services. This means far more than our fellow Northern Chambers, we need to ensure we are reaching across our borders to our neighbours and Chambers of Commerce, and Industry elsewhere in Africa.
Already the Western African community is making leaps, last month we witnessed the signing of an agreement on cooperation between the Nigeria Chamber of Commerce, Mining & Agriculture and NCCI, which aims to find ways in overcoming trade barriers, in an effort to make inter-regional trade more efficient and attractive,” said Iindji.
He said the path to economic improvement remains and the Chambers need to walk alongside business.
“They must remain flexible and responsive enough to change their offerings to meet the mercurial needs of a shifting global economy but stable enough to build and maintain trust. It is only through collaboration that we will be able to deliver what Business needs”.
On his re-election, Iindji said he would like to address one strategically important project during his term, which will promote employment creation, within the four Northern regions.
“The only way to create sustainable jobs, is by creating jobs which deliver true value to an organisation. We must develop a knowledge economy to be globally competitive, to be an export-driven economy and also to attract foreign direct investment but our Namibian interest should be taken into consideration first.”