The Copper Festival gala dinner held over the weekend in Tsumeb was labeled a tremendous success after a remarkable taking of N$505 800 from various sponsors, as opposed to last year when a maximum amount of N$476 000 was collected.
The festival, which has been in existence for 14 years, attracted a large number of investors who joined efforts to make the event a success, with the main sponsor, Dundee Precious Metal, pledging N$175 000. They were followed by Tsumeb Municipality with N$100 000, as well as Standard Bank Namibia, which pledged N$80 000.
The festival is due to run from November 2 to 5 and will be celebrated under the theme, ‘Copper Eradicating Poverty’.
This year’s event is scheduled to be graced by former president Hifikepunye Pohamba.
Speaking at the occasion was Peter Kanu Amadhila, a young entrepreneur and founder of AMA Engineering and Construction, who noted that the mining sector in Tsumeb is very important and contributed immensely to the town’s growth in the 20th century.
He also emphasised that for the town to face the challenges of the 21st century head-on there is a need to diversify, to look beyond mining and encourage investment in other business activities beyond mining and resource extraction.
“It is for this reason that events, such as the annual Copper Festival, are important, because it presents businesses with an opportunity to showcase their products and services. These products and service providers are vital in assisting the municipality in its efforts to diversify the local economic base,” Amadhila said.
In the same vein he called upon the youth and other entrepreneurs to venture into agro-processing and aquaculture, noting it is one of the sectors that are not fully utilised.
“Tsumeb and its surroundings are blessed with many natural resources, including minerals and fertile agricultural lands, complemented by plenty of underground water.
“These natural resources have the potential to develop the town – if properly exploited – in order to contribute to the country’s Gross Domestic Product,” said Amadhila, hinting that government established the SME bank to assist upcoming entrepreneurs and they should thus use the opportunity to establish themselves.
At the same event, vice president and managing director of Dundee Zebra Kasete reiterated his company’s support for the festival, saying for the past six years Dundee has contributed a total amount of N$980 000 towards the smooth running of the Copper Festival.
The chairperson of the organising committee of the festival, Julius Gaeseb, said this year they reduced the entertainment part and focused more on fostering business relations.
“We don’t want to make the festival merely an opportunity for people to abuse alcohol, but a platform where entrepreneurs and businesspeople can interact and exchange business knowledge,” Gaeseb said.
He also noted that the organisers have this year reduced the entrance fee to N$5.