The just-ended Invest in Namibia Conference has netted the country investments worth billions of dollars, one of which is worth an estimated US$250 million (nearly N$3,4 billion at the current exchange rate).
In total the conference spawned 11 investment commitments that include two signed investment agreements and one joint venture agreement.
Others are commitments for further in-depth discussions and negotiations between private investors and Namibian institutional and individual investors.
One of the firm commitments to emerge from the conference culminated in the signing of a joint venture agreement between MK International, a South Korean company, and Otavi Town Council to set up a reinforcing steel manufacturing plant.
Minister of industrialisation, Trade and SME Development Immanuel Ngatjizeko announced the agreements after the closing of the conference late yesterday afternoon.
The steel manufacturing plant would be a public-private partnership between private investors MK International, Otavi Rebar Manufacturing and Otavi Town Council.
“The plant will be strategically located on the SADC Walvis Bay Corridor Network in Otavi and will be known as Namibia Steel Manufacturing,” Ngatjizeko said.
“The product range will include – but not be limited to – rebars and steel products in a variety of profiles, allowing Namibia to reduce its dependence on imported construction material.
“The initial production capacity of the plant will be 580 000 tonnes per annum and the projected investment is estimated at US$250 million. More than 800 skilled and 700 semi-skilled jobs will be created,” Ngatjizeko said.
The Namibia Investment Centre, Namibia’s official investment promotion and facilitation agency, also signed an agreement on the Establishment of a Turkey-Namibia Business Council with the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEIK).
“The purpose of the Turkey-Namibia Business Council will be to promote trade and cross-border investment between the two countries, contribute to the industrial and technological collaboration between Namibian and
Turkish companies and institutions, and facilitate the participation in trade fairs and exhibition,” the trade minister said.
Further, a German company, called Polycare, has registered its intention to set up a production facility in Okahandja within the next six to eight months.
The company has developed innovative low-cost housing systems and intends to utilise Namib desert sand to supply Polycare building blocks to Namibia and the region at large.
“Through this facility Polycare will be able to assist Namibia to tackle the housing shortage and create local jobs,” Ngatjizeko announced.
Polycare’s environmentally friendly building system produces lego-like blocks that are 87 percent composed of desert sand and 13 percent polyster resin. The reusable bricks are said to be four times stronger than conventional concrete and can used to build homes, schools or medical centres.
“A house made out of Polycare bricks can be built in two days, which is the amount of time it took to erect a model house at the Invest Namibia conference right next to the ‘Made in Namibia Expo’ in order to demonstrate the technology,” Ngatjizeko noted.
The City of Windhoek has already seized on the opportunity and had discussions with Polycare to explore the possibility of working together to construct low-cost housing to tackle the worrisome housing backlog.
Also, Land Rover Experience Germany is in the process of finalising an agreement with Air Namibia that will cement the national airline’s position as Land Rover Experience Germany’s preferred partner.
Land Rover Experience is said to be in the process of setting up a centre in Namibia that will cater for exclusive clientele, who will be flown into the country by Air Namibia.
A Chinese group facilitated by a company called Sungroup has also agreed with the City of Windhoek and Rundu to explore opportunities in land servicing and low-and middle-income housing developments.
The head of the Economic Development Agency of Cuxhaven, one of the most important fishing regions in Germany, has agreed to lead a business delegation to Namibia in the first quarter of 2017.
Cuxhaven is home to more than 30 innovative companies in the fishing industry, who employ more than 1 000 qualified staff in fish production, processing and logistics.
The delegation will include the company Biocerval, which has expressed an interest in setting up a production facility for fishmeal and fish oil at Walvis Bay.
Rundu Town Council also met with investors from China, Portugal and Angola, who want to construct a factory for building materials, a shoe factory and shoe retail outlets for the domestic and regional market, as well as a hotel at Rundu.
Premier of Gauteng Province in South Africa David Makhura had an opportunity to establish relations with Governor of the Erongo Region Cleophas Mutjavikua and visited Swakop Uranium Mine, Namport, Walvis Bay Salt Holdings, Seaworks Fishing Company and the !Nara Industrial Park.
The Trans-Kalahari Corridor links the Port of Walvis Bay with Gauteng Province, hence the Erongo regional government and the Gauteng provincial governments agreed to work on the formulation of a memorandum of understanding to strengthen economic cooperation between the two regions.
Makhura also undertook a visit to the informal settlements and one of the mass housing projects currently under construction in Windhoek, and met with the Shack Dwellers Federation in Otjomuise.
He reportedly visited local markets, such as Soweto market, and engaged in discussions to put in place means of assistance and modalities for township economic development that will include low-cost housing programmes.
Further, the ministers responsible for industrialisation, trade and small business development, agriculture and water, mines and energy, finance, as well as environment and tourism, had meetings with various business delegations to discuss potential projects, business prospects and policy matters.