By Mbatjiua Ngavirue OTJIWARONGO The Otjiwarongo Trade Fair can serve as a platform for the town, its residents and the private sector to establish ties that can foster economic growth through trade and investment, says President Hifikepunye Pohamba. The President said this yesterday when he opened the 2006 Otjiwarongo Trade Fair, which this year coincides with the centenary celebrations of the town. The event, previously known as the Otjiwarongo Show, has taken on a completely new character as it is no longer run by what the town’s mayor, Otto Ipinge, described as a “private company”. The renamed ‘trade fair’ is now organized by a committee of volunteers made up of various stakeholders operating directly under the Otjiwarongo municipality. President Pohamba commended the Otjiwarongo Town Council for actively involving residents in the affairs of the town. The town council has done this through various community committees established at the town, such as the Development Committee and the Main Road and Central Business Area Committee of which residents are members. “This is highly commendable as it ensures the active participation of community members in matters that affect their daily lives. It is an approach that other towns across Namibia can emulate. “This will also remove resistance to change, because community members are involved in the planning process and are able to participate in decision-making,” he said. The president congratulated the Otjiwarongo Municipality for an initiative which he felt provides a platform for residents to determine their own future. He called on residents of the town to make use of the opportunity given by the town council, and to actively participate and serve on the committees. There are several exhibitors from the SADC region who came to display their goods at the Otjiwarongo Trade Fair. Their participation demonstrated the importance of regional trade and regional economic integration in line with the SADC Protocol on Trade. The presence of all international exhibitors at the show, he said, is highly appreciated and he hoped that this is not the last time they exhibit in Namibia. “I would also like to call upon our local manufacturers, producers, businesses and institutions in Namibia to support local shows and trade fairs that take place in different parts of the country,” he appealed. Pohamba highlighted Otjiwarongo’s strategic location as a connecting point, which gives it a strong advantage for economic growth. The strong farming activities and availability of public services in the town also make Otjiwarongo an attractive location for investment. Pohamba thanked the commercial farming sector for their input towards economic growth in Otjiwarongo, and in Namibia as a whole. The President was however prompted to ask “where are the farmers?” as they were not present in their usual numbers. The official opening of the trade fair was attended by a number of local dignitaries, including Regional Governor Theo Eiseb, Otjiwarongo Mayor Otto Ipinge, and also the mayors of Grootfontein, Tsumeb, Otavi and Khorixas. After an extended tour of the exhibits at the show, President Pohamba proceeded to the launch of one of the new factories in the town, Global Polymer Industries. The company manufactures a wide variety of polystyrene products, including Styroblock, an innovative polystyrene-based interlocking hollow building module.
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