Windhoek-A business delegation from Tabliz in northern Iran yesterday confirmed that a N$150 million tractor assembly plant will be established at Brakwater, on the outskirts of Windhoek.
According to Abolfath Ebrahim, general manager of the Iranian Tractor Manufacturing Company, his company is quite flexible as to the exact specifications of the factory, but mentioned that the plant’s production line will be able to produce anywhere between 500 and 5,000 units per annum.
Tractors rolling off the assembly line will be branded as a product of Namibia and will likely be exported to interested countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, with a potential market of 400 million people.
The tractor assembly plant will be a joint venture between the Iranian Tractor Manufacturing Company, which will own 30 percent, and a local firm called Vispa Investment Holdings, which will control 70 percent of the shareholding.
The main shareholders in Vispa are Omusati Regional Governor Erginus Endjala, local businessman Onesmus Amadhila and Michael Mukwiilongo.
According to Endjala, there is strong indication that a local asset management firm is interested in acquiring shareholding in the project. The joint venture will also include a centre for facilitating exports to neighbouring countries.
While the visiting Iranian delegation, led by Iranian Ambassador Vahid Karimi, was adamant that the first tractor could roll off in the line in as little as six months, Endjala yesterday noted that both the Environmental Impact Assessment and the rezoning of the Brakwater property to an industrial area, could both take some time.
“We expect the groundbreaking ceremony to take place in February or March next year,” said Endjala, adding that the factory will provide numerous jobs for the youth, particularly qualified youth from vocational training centres.
He added that 10 Namibians would soon travel to Iran to receive training in assembling the tractors. Once back in the country these people will share their newly acquired skills with other workers here.
Endjala led a Namibian business delegation to Iran in April, where they were introduced to the management of the Iranian Tractor Manufacturing Company.
Iranian Ambassador Karimi pointed out that the present administration of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is keen to boost trade and diplomatic relations with the 54 African countries.
“I’m trying to bring more Iranians here. As you might be aware, Iran’s immediate neighbour is Europe, and many Iranian business people used to go to Europe, but now the priority of my present government is Africa, so they are coming to African countries in big numbers where they are engaged in business.
“I give you the example – during the last year our trade with Kenya increased more than 150 percent, and in some African countries Iranian cars are produced and used as taxis.”