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NTF finalising first Market Intel phase

Mon, 26 January 2015 03:37
by Charmaine Ngatjiheue and Comfort Ajibola

The Namibia Trade Forum (NTF) is busy finalising the concept phase of the Market Intelligence project before it is launched this year either in June or July.
The market intelligence project is a central tool that involves data analysis about a business or a market to make detailed decisions regarding trade and investments. The data base that will be developed is supposed to serve whoever is concerned.
Senior Policy Analyst at the NTF, Maria Immanuel stated that The Namibia Trade Forum is mandated to create a dialogue between the business community and the government, saying they have been mandated to institutionalise trade and investment services.
“The Namibian Trade Market Intelligence will look like a website and it will mainly serve the Namibian private sector with trade information. It will be the latest trade information. If you want to look at bilateral information for instance on Namibia and Zimbabwe, the Market Intelligence can have all that information. Economic indicators, growth of the Gross domestic Product and current interests’ information will be on the market intelligence data base. This is a platform where all this information is displayed for the business community,” said Immanuel.
The NTF is an agency of the Ministry of Trade and Industry and when the ministry takes on business missions and as most of the time they take the business community with them, the Market Intelligence will service those meetings by for instance comparing the consumption of certain products if it’s to do with the discussions in the country they are going to visit to prepare what the MTI can expect to improve engagements.
Immanuel further noted that this database is coming from a strategic initiative at the NTF as a need was identified by the private sector and given to the NTF to embark on as a project.
“There is currently no timely or available information on trade thus we seek to empower the business sector on international trade and investments. The need was realised last February. It will be a portal database that will serve the business community. We are busy with it now and cannot access it now as this is just the identification process. We are finalising the concept note and then we launch,” she said.
The Market Intelligence is to provide the economy with information to help business people make decisions; it is a platform giving timely information with regards to trade and investments. We are busy developing it and by June/July it will be launched.
“The ultimate goal is to service the entire Namibian economy on relevant timely international trade policies and investment matters. We want it to be a central hub of information on trade and investment information,” noted Immanuel.
SMEs Compete Managing Director, Danny Meyer said Market Intelligence or expressed more simply, is the gathering of information on a domestic market or on foreign markets, customers buying trends, on the identification of potential customers and other useful information.
“As for the Namibia Trade Forum embarking on such a project, well it makes sense. Armed with knowledge that organization can then advise their sponsoring Ministry, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and provide information that MTI could use as it plans its programmes and projects,” said Meyer.
Meyer added, “Although its status is that of a Section 21 (not for gain entity – like for example the NCCI), to our knowledge the Namibia Trade Forum is a creation, sponsored and is funded and resourced by MTI. It operates under the auspices of MTI. Resultantly the organization should have access to adequate resources that enables it to execute its mandate.”
Market intelligence gathering must be seen as a strategy adopted by entrepreneurs and management of firms to help them grow business and create wealth, and not as a behaviour or mechanism that will prejudice the retail sector or consumers.
Minister of Trade and Industry (MTI), Calle Schlettwein said the market intelligence is one aspect that is trying to improve marketing intelligence in the country.
He added that in a competitive world such as ours, saying it is absolutely crucial in the industry that people make decisions on trade based on timely information which will be provided by the market Intel that is yet to be launched.
“The information we have in market intelligence, the more success we will have. It has also come to our attention that SMEs do not always have the necessary resources to engage in marketing intelligence. With this they will be able to present their products to a bigger market. By the 3rd quarter of this year the data base will be developed and launched,” said Schlettwein
Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) Chief Executive Officer, Tarah Shaanika acknowledged that they are aware of the market Intel formulated, in fact it was one of their recommendations.
“It helps provide advice and assistance to companies that may be interested in our products. Our main role is to mobilize our members and assist the NTF easily identify whatever challenges they may have. It is absolutely needed. Many countries have marketing intelligence and it is important for us to be able to put our products on a bigger market. The Namibian market is too small, this will put us on the global market,” said Shaanika.