By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK Namibians continue to shun local products even when such products may be competitive and of good quality. As a result the manufacturing industry suffers from this lack of interest in local consumer goods, some 16 years into the country’s independence. Last week, the Minister of Trade and Industry Immanuel Ngatjizeko called on Namibian retailers to ensure locally made goods enjoy similar priority as imported products. Ngatjizeko who emphasised his commitment to Team Namibia stressed the importance of Namibians uniting and supporting initiatives that are aimed at promoting indigenous products. “My ministry is fully committed to working in partnership with private sector initiatives, which are complementing our efforts to grow the economy and create jobs,” said the minister. In 2004, the country launched its “Buy Local” campaign whose purpose is to promote quality Namibian products, services and destinations under the generic “Team Namibia” brand. Following the launch, team membership has grown to 420 members, of which 301 are local farmers, over the past two years. Of the remaining 119 members, 25 percent are goods manufacturers, followed by media and marketing organisations and food producers. A number of strategic partners have recently joined the team including the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) and the Joint Consultative Committee (JCC). During the Annual General Meeting of Team Namibia held recently, patron of Team Namibia Buy Local campaign Dr Sam Nujoma said the inclusion of the NUNW was “to rally the workers of Namibia around the goals of government’s efforts to enhance productivity and improve economic development in the country”, while the JCC was involved to promote the growth of our SMEs to improve their productivity and to boost their participation in the national economy. Nujoma also noted that one of the challenges facing Team Namibia was “to encourage our local markets to accommodate and provide space on their shelves for the locally made goods so that we can enhance the growth of our local producers and create job opportunities for all our people”. Recently, the exclusive Team Namibia Ambassador’s Club was launched, which according to the current chairperson of Team Namibia Tarah Shaanika will make “maximum use of influential Namibian citizens to enhance our message to the consumers”. Stefan Ludik, Namibia’s Big Brother Africa contestant and now Egoli star has joined the ranks of President Pohamba, as a member of the elite team. In his correspondence to Team Namibia in response to an official request to join Team Namibia’s Ambassador’s Club, Ludik said he looks forward to “being of assistance to a project close to my heart” – that of promoting Namibia and its people. The Team Namibia Goodwill Ambassador’s Club was launched on July 19, 2006, in an effort to create pride and build credibility for Team Namibia member products, services and destinations. The club membership is exclusively for individuals of good social standing and stature, and whose stature can equip the organization in developing pride in all things that are Namibian. Team Namibia requires ambassadors to act in good faith, as promoters of the Team Namibia “Be Namibian – Buy Namibian” message and “live” the Team Namibia brands. By living the Team Namibia brand, Team Namibia ambassadors pledge to support Team Namibia and buy Namibian at all possible opportunities and to insist on Namibian products.
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