By William J. Mbangula OSHAKATI The strength of African economies will be based on the abilities of its people to share knowledge and expertise in the fight against poverty, ignorance and under-development, said a South African official visiting Namibia. The Head of the Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism in the Limpopo Provincial Council in South Africa, Colin Chabane Chabane, was speaking at a reception held in his honour by the Oshana Regional Council at the Ongwediva Trade Fair last Friday. He said as soon as his delegation is back to South Africa, they will compile a report which will represent the aspirations and wishes expressed during his visit to the regions of Oshana, Omusati and Ohangwena. Amongst many issues to enjoy his attention is to encourage the business community in Limpopo Province to come and participate in the Ongwediva Trade Fair (OATF) in order to exhibit their products and share business ideas with their counterparts in Namibia. Apart from this, he will also encourage both the Namibian and South African leaders at regional and local level to compile the profiles of their respective authorities in order to match their needs and aspirations for the purposes of further close cooperation. Limpopo is one of the nine provinces in South Africa, which province according to Chabane runs a budget of N$23 billion with 200 municipalities, 49 members of parliament and 11 cabinet members headed by a premier. The province has many similarities matching the Namibian situation when it comes to the northern regions. Welcoming the visiting delegation, the Governor of Oshana Region Clemens Kashuupulwa cited the need to look at strengthening trade ventures between business people from Oshana Region and Limpopo Province in terms of joint ventures in manufacturing, tourism, industrial development and many others. “The backbone of any robust economy lies in the manufacturing sector because it has the possibility for accelerated job creation and economic growth.” He urged Namibian business people to visit the Limpopo Province in order to explore business opportunities and enter into joint business ventures with their counterparts in South Africa. “We need therefore to put in place a two-pronged economic strategy which is to firstly diversify and expand our trading activities and, secondly, to create and broaden the manufacturing base through joint ventures with potential investors from the Limpopo Province,” noted the Governor. Responding to the challenge, the Deputy Chairperson of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) Northern Branch, Jason Nghidinwa, agreed that there is a need for closer cooperation because Namibia and South Africa share many commonalities in culture, and social and economic development. ” We need not to compete in our areas of competencies but rather complement one another. Let us build on our comparative advantages in a complementary spirit. Let us build our trade and business relations in this spirit. That is the only way for us in Africa to meet the challenges of globalisation.” Nghidinwa urged companies and individuals from Limpopo Province to explore the many opportunities in the four main economic pillars of Namibia, namely, mining, fisheries, agriculture and tourism. “I wish to assure you all that the NCCI as the umbrella body representing the majority of the business community in Namibia will ensure that all interested business people from Limpopo Province or anywhere else seeking partnership with their Namibian counterparts will be assisted to find credible partners that can add value to their business investments,” said Nghidinwa.