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Mbumba Officially Opens Okakarara Trade Fair

…Says Businesses Must Adopt Smart Technologies For 4IR

By: Dolly Menas

Vice president Nangolo Mbumba says full and active participation in the economy requires businesses to adopt innovative and smart technologies to be successful in the fourth industrial revolution (4IR).

Mbumba said this at the opening of the Okakarara Trade Fair held under the theme ‘Unlocking business growth opportunities for Okakarara’.

The theme recognises Okakarara’s resolve to unlock its potential as a fast-growing business and one of the economic centres of the Otjozondjupa region.

“In this context, our government’s new approach and strategic thrust towards economic development embrace a smart economy in a rapidly changing world,” he said.

He added that the country needs to work smarter and bring in aspects of the four smart economies and the 4IR.

Mbumba said the road to achieving industrialisation requires both private and public sectors to think outside of the box and create new entrepreneurial initiatives that increase productivity to improve the quality of the lives of citizens.

He also said that trade fairs such as the Okakarara Trade Fair and others across the country, which afford opportunities to businesses especially SMEs to showcase their products to a vast market, to network with bigger companies, and hopefully mature Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs), require the support of the government.

“Events such as this require the continued support of our communities, and all stakeholders because trade fairs are often the place that companies use as a testing ground for new products, processes, ideas, and strategies,” he said.

“We are all aware that Namibia’s economic outlook has not been favourable in recent years. The global economy not long ago experienced a slowdown, which placed tremendous economic pressure on developing nations such as Namibia,” said Mbumba.

He added that within the borders, Namibia experienced a period of drought which was further five exacerbated by the pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mbumba stamped that the SMEs had to navigate the difficult terrains.

“Those that survived continue to face a myriad of problems, such as limited skills, lack of finances, and high rental rates threatening their survival,” he said.

However, Mbumba said that there is light at the end of the tunnel, as the country is headed to a recovering economy.

“We should redouble our efforts to building resilient and future-proof businesses,” he said.

He further stamped that Namibia’s SMEs can only enter the economic mainstream if gears are shifted higher and if efforts are drastically doubled up.

Mbumba also said the government’s policy on ‘Growth at Home’ emphasises industrialisation, manufacturing, and value addition.

“The Otjozondjupa region is known for livestock production. However, most of the livestock produced in this region are unluckily exported on hoof without any value addition and without creating employment. It is therefore imperative that we commit to adding value to our natural resources so that we can create jobs for our people, while at the same time promoting economic growth and development,” he stated.

He concluded that a trade fair of this magnitude cannot materialise without the support of promoters and sponsors who despite strained resources have availed financial means to host the Okakarara Trade Fair.

“I would therefore like to express my appreciation to Standard Bank, Bank Windhoek, First National Bank, MTC, Agribank, Meatco, Meat Board of Namibia, and Modern World for the job well done.”

Dolly Menas

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