By Wezi Tjaronda ONGWEDIVA Namibia will remain undeveloped economically unless its citizens spot opportunities that are right at their doorsteps, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Bernard Esau, has said. Esau said Namibians have a culture of idleness and perpetually complain about other businesses, adding that it was a worrying situation. The deputy minister was speaking during the Limpopo Business Seminar at Ongwediva yesterday. He said instead of being on the lookout for business opportunities, Namibians were endlessly engaging in boring chatter and complaints against successful foreign businesses. Most Namibians doing businesses have on a number of times complained about “the unfair competition” especially from established businesses from elsewhere. In Oshikango for instance, Esau said, he noted that only one Namibian operated a bonded warehouse, with the rest being foreign owned Esau gave the example of a business like the Etunda Irrigation Project, as “a type of entrepreneurship, one of sacrifice, hard work, drive, energy and capital investments which will turn Namibia into an economically competitive regional breadbasket”. The Limpopo business delegation from South Africa is seeking to forge business ties with Namibians especially from the northern regions. “I would encourage Namibian entrepreneurs to make use of this opportunity and link up with their counterparts from Limpopo who are adequately resourced to form strategic partnerships and able to compete efficiently against the best in the global market,” he said. Collins Chabane, the Limpopo Provincial Minister of Economic Development, Tourism and Environment, said Namibians and South Africans were faced with the challenges of getting out of poverty, and suffering a lack of skills and underdevelopment. The province has entered into discussions with several countries in Southern Africa, namely, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and now Namibia to make economic development a reality. Chabane said he believed businesses need to be exposed to the methods that the world is using to trade. “Attending expos is the first step in the right direction to jointly fight poverty in the region,” said the provincial minister. The process of forging partnerships with the northern regions started some years back when the provincial minister, the South African High Commissioner and the governors of the northern regions met to discuss ways of cooperation. The northern regions were selected because they are the most populated and they were hardest hit before Namibia attained independence. Chabane said the Limpopo Province was committed to give support to Namibian businesses to grow the economy, fight poverty and make money and get rich. “We are providing you with the opportunity to get rich, if you fail that is your business,” he added. The Limpopo Province will later this year hold a conference for small businesses on how they could get involved in the 2010 World Cup that is coming to South Africa and also beyond. The province, which is at the tip of northern South Africa, is 123 000 sq km in size with a population of 5.6 million people and borders Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Botswana. It has an annual budget of N$20 billion a year. Contributing to its GDP are agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining and quarrying, manufacturing, construction, trade, hotels, restaurants, transport, communication and general government services. Limpopo Province has in the past decade attained the highest economic growth of all South Africa’s provinces. With a growth rate of 4 percent the last decade, the rate compares well with that of Asia.
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