Amongst countries from the developing world, China has proven itself noteworthy with regards to production capacity, compared to some wealthy and far more experienced western nations. Africa, on the other hand, needs similar motivation if it wishes to meet its rather ambitious industrialisation plans, and Namibian is no exception.
Plans have been made by the Namibian government, through its Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development to embark on a strategy for economic growth. This increase of capacity in the economy is aimed at diversification of resources and encourages local value addition and, most importantly, drives manufacturing, one of the key aspects of the industrialisation process.
The adoption of this strategy is tied to key growth factors and aligned with national goals outlined in Vision 2030, NDP4 and the new Harambee Prosperity Plan. Amongst others, the strategy aims at boosting the country’s economy and improving value addition for local producers.
Namibia as part of the African Union (AU) will have to push much harder and faster to get ahead of the AU’s vision and action plan, called Agenda 2063, to meet some crucial regional industrialisation objectives, but not before it has done so for its own purpose.
The Namibian government has created enabling environments, where people can advance their own economically sustained future, especially through the support and subsequent use of local good and services. However, more efforts need to be made to encourage everyone, including individual citizens and private institutions to buy local goods and services.
Buying local is crucial in assuring local reinvestment, as more money stays within the country. This approach can basically be described summarised as “every dollar spent generates twice as much income for the local economy”.
This further translates into locally created jobs, as government alone cannot sustain and advance job creation alone. Research has shown that local businesses owned by the local people are obviously less likely to leave and are more interested in the country’s future and, therefore, invest in its economy.
It is important for school learners to be educated about the importance of buying and supporting local products and services. Parents also have a big role to play, as the children often go shopping with their parents.
For Namibia to elevate herself to become a prosperous nation, and enjoy sustained economic growth, especially on the African continent, Namibians have to support and empower local businesses. Together, we can uplift our local communities and, most importantly, grow the national economy by pulling together in the same direction in spirit of Harambee.
If infrastructure created and frameworks established are not fully exploited, then they will soon become white elephants. This includes platforms, such as the “Made in Namibia” Expo, an initiative of the Ministry of Trade and Industry to showcase local products and services.
President Hage Geingob noted something striking in his first State of the Nation Address, which I agree with, when he said: “It is unacceptable that a quarter century after Independence, locally produced goods and services are denied shelve space in retail outlets”.
With this, I applaud the Namibia Trade Forum (NTF) for spearheading the Retail Charter, which was launched in March 2016.
The Charter is an industrialisation policy aimed at encouraging retail chains and outlets to stock Namibian products on their retail shelves. This will stimulate the local manufacturing industry. Go out there and support local. It has a net benefit for our country’s economy. Think local, buy local, and be local. My Namibia, my pride!
* Festus Hangula holds a Bachelor’s of Economics in International Trade and Economy from Wuhan University, China. Heat