By Eveline de Klerk
WALVIS BAY – The Minister of Trade and Industry, Calle Schlettwein, says the establishment of the N$300 million dimension stone processing plant at the coast is confirmation that the investor climate in Namibia is stable.
This is also indicative that the investor climate is favourable and recognizes the high potential of developing viable commodity-based value chains.
Schlettwein was speaking on Monday at the official opening of the factory that is situated about seven kilometres outside Walvis Bay.
This is the largest stone factory in Africa and an investment of the Chinese international corporation Best Cheer Stone Group.
The factory is expected to employ close to 1 000 people while production is expected to start within the next three months. It will process dimension stone into various commercial products such as table tops and mosaics.
The plant is also expected to process up to 1 million tonnes of dimension stone every year.
The factory will use stone from several of the company’s quarries around the country and the Erongo Region in particular.
“Namibia’s economic growth still depends to a large extent on investments in the primary sector and specifically in extractive industries. In order to sustain and even enhance high levels of economic growth we must diversify the economy towards a stronger secondary sector,” noted the trade and industry minister.
He said such growth must be job-rich and create wealth that must be equally shared.
He applauded the company for responding to the government’s call for training and empowerment as the company will provide training of its employees through a high-quality on-site training programme.
“I am hopeful that you will deepen your localisation programme by also considering shared ownership in your company with the view to empower Namibians and ensure true win-win situations between Chinese and Namibian nationals. I can assure you that you are in a very promising locality indeed. Namibia is rated highly as an investor destination and we pride ourselves on being one of the best rated emerging economies with excellent market access into the African continent and also further around the globe,” Schlettwein stated.