By Wezi Tjaronda WINDHOEK A few weeks after the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) management undertook visits to some regions, an NCCI branch has been opened at LÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¼deritz. Following this development, the business community in the Karas Region plans to hold a Karas Business Forum later this month to bring together all the branch offices of the chamber in various towns of the region in order to form a Karas Regional Chamber. The business body, according to NCCI Operations Manager, Charity Mwiya, considers the launch of the branch at the southern coastal town as another milestone in the history of the chamber as it is in line with the organization’s vision of organizing businesses to make more meaningful contribution to the development of the country’s economy. “The NCCI is proud of this achievement by the LÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¼deritz business community as their coming together under a well-organized forum of the chamber, a business representative association recognized and appreciated by stakeholders in our country, will now better position them to jointly address common problems facing their community in particular, in their endeavors to boost business activities there,” she said in a press statement issued last week. The launch of the branch also saw the election of its executive committee, which will be chaired by David Shoombe, a local business personality at the town. Up to 30 businesses in LÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¼deritz signed up for membership of the chamber during August, just before the launch of the branch. The chamber requires at least 15 registered businesses to constitute a branch. Mwiya said the NCCI further sees this development as a significant milestone that should encourage businesses operating there, and many others eyeing to invest in that town, to see the potential that that town and the Karas Region in general holds. She said the town of LÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¼deritz was fast becoming an important economic centre, which already handles exports and imports worth billions of dollars in fishing, offshore diamond mining and the export of zinc from the Skorpion Zinc Mine. The Karas Region in general, is also rich in terms of other natural resources. Sectors like manufacturing, tourism and agricultural products provide some of the best opportunities for investment and growth in that region. “In recent years, table grapes and dates production along the Orange River and at the Naute Dam near Keetmanshoop have grown significantly. The products have already made significant foreign exchange gains in the export markets of Europe and other parts of the world,” Mwiya said.