Pohamba hosts business delegation

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President Hifikepunye Pohamba greets Namibia’s Honourary Consul in Canada Walter McLean during the business delegation's visit to State House.

WINDHOEK – The visiting delegation of Canadian and American business people could return to Namibia in March 2015 to participate in the country’s 25th independence anniversary celebrations, if everything proceeds according to plan.

Speaking to President Hifikepunye Pohamba during their courtesy call on Tuesday, the Namibian Honourary Consul in Canada Walter McLean asked if Namibia is prepared to host a large number of business people, who are willing to join in the 25th independence anniversary celebrations, while at the same time exploring business opportunities in the country. “I just want to know, what mechanisms have you put in place? The machinery that is in place for the business people to come and celebrate your 25th anniversary. We should begin to link politics with tourism and trade,” McLean stressed. Namibia will celebrate its Silver Jubilee on 21st March 2015, which will coincide with the swearing-in of the third president of the republic, undoubtedly the winner of next year’s presidential poll. The grand ceremony is usually held in Windhoek and is often graced by dignitaries, including foreign heads of state and government.

The Canadian businessman says many business personalities from Canada and the USA would like to visit Namibia during that time, in order to explore the beauty of the country and to conduct business, and look forward to joining Namibians in celebrating 25 years of independence. Pohamba was pleasantly surprised by the keen interest expressed by the delegation to explore Namibia both as tourists and as investors. Pohamba was quick to assure McLean that the government together with the private sector in the tourism industry would be ready to host the guests during the 25th independence anniversary celebrations, and stressed that Namibia has a lot to offer in terms of tourism. “If you go to the coast between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay and you look on your left hand side, we have huge sand dunes and if you look on the right you will notice the sea, the water of the Atlantic that we share with you. People go there to climb the sand dunes and if you come, you will never be disappointed,” he assured the business delegation. Pohamba also reiterated government’s position that Namibia is open for business, adding that there are many sectors with great potential for investment that foreign investors with their local partners can take advantage of. He said it is the express intention of the government to attract investors to set up industries in the different sectors of the economy in order to expand the industrial base and to create employment.  “We are promoting win-win partnerships, whereby both our country and the investors can derive sustainable benefits.” He also told the delegation that Namibia is faced with high unemployment and therefore local and foreign investors have a crucial role to play in creating employment for the people. He said investing in Namibia offers access to the broader market of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) of more than 200 million consumers. “Make Namibia your port of entry into this enormous market. Our government stands ready to support you and to facilitate the realization of your chosen investment projects in Namibia,” Pohamba said.

The delegation of more than 20 business people from both Canada and the USA are in the country for a week as part of the annual trade mission organized by the Namibian Embassy in Washington. They were accompanied to State House by Namibian Ambassador to the U.S. Martin Andjamba. In the past week the delegation managed to meet with senior government officials, including Prime Minister Dr Hage Giengob, the Minister of Trade and Industry Calle Schlettwein, the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, John Mutorwa and also undertook a tour of the Namibian Breweries complex in Windhoek yesterday. They have expressed interest in various areas such as agriculture, aquaculture, mining, tourism, research, ICT and housing.

By Tonateni Shidhudhu

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