Kavango West has untapped manufacturing potential

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John Muyamba

Nkurenkuru-Kavango West has various investment opportunities, but also has potential for manufacturing for investors. Apart from the Kavango River that flows through the region – which is of course useful for manufacturing and agricultural activities – the region is also blessed with vast natural resources that can be utilized for manufacturing.

Some of the natural resources found in the region are timber for furniture-making, wood for crafts and for firewood, as well as thatch grass referred to as nangondwe, which is used in roofing houses and lodges. The region also has wild/indigenous fruits that can be used to produce jam and juice.
Regional deputy director for planning and development Egidius Nambara believes these opportunities in manufacturing could add value to existing raw materials if explored.

“There are industrial and trade opportunities related to the Windhoek-Luanda corridor and increasing trade between Angola and Namibia. There are also opportunities around developing a transport and warehouse hubs in the region,” Nambara said.

Manufacturing of leather products and furniture is also ideal in this newly established region, which has no manufacturing base. The availability of ample natural resources, such as fertile land, water from the river, timber, wood, thatch indigenous fruit and many other resources offers proof that manufacturing industries could prosper here.

It is high time that the potential and opportunities are explored by local business people or foreign investors, he says.

“There is a high potential in this region for wood and charcoal production, as well as manufacturing of toothpicks and sosatie sticks, in addition to producing fertilisers for crop farmers and many more. All these are currently not being done here, but these opportunities can be taken up to boost the region’s economy, especially with the vast land and the availability of water from the Kavango River,” Nambara said.

“Why should we be getting toothpicks and sosatie sticks, for example, from South Africa when we have the resources to manufacture and produce them locally in Kavango West Region? Do we want to say we have no local businesspeople in the region and in the country, who are capable of exploring this opportunity of producing a simple toothpick?
“Our local business people and us the youth in this region should start thinking big and capitalise on the natural resources that our region is blessed with, so that we can grow the economy of this region,” he added.

Historically, manufacturing has functioned as the main engine of economic growth and development and continues to be a key driver of rapid economic growth and is associated with the creation of employment, both directly and indirectly in developing countries.

Kavango West Region is located in the northeastern part of Namibia; to the north it borders the Cuando Cubango Province of Angola and to the east it shares borders with Kavango East Region, Otjozondjupa Region in the south, Oshikoto Region in the west and Ohangwena in the northwest.

The region has eight constituencies: Kapako, Mankumpi, Mpungu, Musese, Ncamagoro, Nkurenkuru, Ncuncuni and Tondoro, and Nkurenkuru Town is the regional capital. It also has one settlement called Katwitwi.

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