WINDHOEK – Namibian consumers have no commitment to local products and as such they should bear part of the blame for the failure of local products, which are struggling to compete with well-established imported products, complained Team Namibia.
Team Namibia does however admit that its previous initiatives to promote local products did not live up to expectations and is now promising to pull up its socks. Team Namibia is the private sector organisation tasked with encouraging Namibians to buy local products.
It came under heavy criticism recently from manufacturers and producers who are not impressed with the current national campaign to promote the buying of Namibian products, which they described as weak.
Team Namibia has been running the ‘Buy Namibia’ campaign since 2003. Manufacturers have started to pile pressure on multinational retail chains to stock more Namibian products.
Team Namibia’s general manager Lizette Foot admits that the organisation has not been very effective in the past, and says the new management intends to work out a new promotional campaign with a new logo for Namibian products before the end of July.
‘[We] want to give the power back to the consumer by giving them understanding of what it means to buy local and the positive effects this will have on the economy,” said Foot.
The first step towards this, she said, is the re-launch of the Team Namibia logo. “If local products do not stand out clearly, there is no point [asking consumers to consider buying local products over imports],” she says.
Manufacturers complain that Team Namibia has failed to put up ‘a stronger presence” that could “work towards an understanding [among consumers] of why it is important to support local products.’
They also say the organisation’s national campaign of ‘Buy Namibia’ has had “a low impact” among consumers since its rollout about five years ago.
The concerns were raised during a closed-door meeting two weeks ago, between the Namibian Manufacturers Association (NMA) members, representatives of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Bank of Namibia, the Namibia Standards Institute, Team Namibia and a number of retail companies.
Very few companies feature the Team Namibia logo out of 207 member companies of Team Namibia.
Foot said the re-launch of the logo and the new campaign would work to address all the shortcomings.
Team Namibia is also going to ask member companies to “practise what they preach” by supporting other local companies in their operations, says Foot.