Local businesses to benefit from Water Conference

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WINDHOEK – The upcoming 9th International Water Association (IWA) Conference on Water Reclamation is expected to generate jobs and provide income for local companies.

The IWA conference will take place during October 27-31 this year at the Safari Hotel, and will include water experts from as far as the United States, Europe, South America, Japan, China, Singapore, Australia, Mexico, as well as South Africa. The chairperson of the organizing committee, Piet du Pisani, said: “Preparations are going as planned and we are proud to be engaging local service providers to make this event a success. All goods and services are sourced locally, this is a great opportunity not only to showcase Namibia’s technical ability in water reuse, but also Namibia’s capabilities in hosting events.” Delegates for instance will receive conference bags and lanyards that are 100 percent Namibian. Through Sphere Namibia, a local provider of events accessories, groups in Katutura were tasked with producing 450 conference bags, which were specifically designed by Sphere Namibia for the IWA conference and will be part of the unique memorabilia for delegates. Sphere Namibia spokesperson, Salmi Shikongo, said: “At Sphere we encourage our clients to engage local SMEs and give them access to the market.

Our company works with local service providers on product design and meeting the demands of our clients. As Namibia’s economy and international status grow, more events are organized here, which is a good opportunity for SMEs to tap into a new customer base.” Du Pisani added: “Although these products are substantially more expensive than imported nylon bags and lanyards, which conference goers normally leave in their hotel rooms, these items are of high quality and appeal. The organising committee wanted to give the delegates something to remember Namibia by.”

The Omba Arts Trust that works with rural communities all over Namibia has provided 450 conference lanyards made from ostrich egg shells. A unique Namibian design was produced by San communities in the Omaheke Region. “Creating income for remote communities is every citizen’s responsibility, particularly during this time of drought,” remarked Omba Arts Trust Managing Director, Karin Le Roux. “Omba Arts Trust has created a product range for the local conference scene and the corporate market in order to diversify the sources of income of craft producers who usually rely exclusively on tourism. We have a wide range of gifts, which include bags, key rings, lanyards and fridge magnets, which are 100 percent Namibian products,” she continued. According to IWA conference organizer, Marelise Serfontein, from Conference Link, it is important that Namibians stop promoting imported goods and services when there are so many local service providers who can deliver good quality products on time. “Namibia must feed back into its own economy so that smaller businesses can grow. The conferencing industry is a growing economy that will allow many SMEs to grow and develop. It is an industry that contributes significantly to the Gross Domestic Product and conference organisers like Conference Link contribute in a meaningful way to skills development by creating temporary jobs such as stewards and youth ambassadors and by engaging local service providers.

Other Namibian providers include CONSOAV, which will be providing the audio and visual equipment for the entire conference. Vulkan Ruine Tours & Transfers will provide transportation from the airport to the different accommodation establishments, the conference venue, as well as handle technical tours and special events.  Tamonika Events is organizing the entire conference gala dinner from the décor to the food, while the Tswana cultural group Black Melody, Kavango Cultural Group D, Siteketa and Cultural Group ‘Suide Maak Vrede’ will organize the entertainment. Namibian company Expo Studios will be responsible for the entire exhibition setup.

By Staff Reporter

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