The most prominent event on the town’s annual calendar, the Otavi Investment Expo and Festival has been hard hit by the tough economic times – so much so that the event will not take place this year.
This was revealed by the town’s economic development officer, Kaunda Utale.
Speaking to New Era this week, Utale maintained that while provision was made to cater for the event, the cost implications far outweigh its hosting.
“The expo will not take place because of economic and logistical reasons. It is a known fact that the economy is going through some dire straits across the country and Otavi is not an exception,” he said.
He revealed that for the town council to host a successful expo a budget of N$600,000 and beyond is required.
“We have to look at the cost of hiring tents, running adverts, organising gala dinners as well as other aspects such as the entertainment, etcetera. All of this requires funds and sponsorships are hard to come by at this moment,” maintained Utale.
“It is better to have a budget that speaks to the challenges at hand before we can look at money that we can raise through, for example, pledges at gala dinners,” he added.
His position was corroborated by the town’s acting chief executive officer Pesella Nunda who confirmed that pledges normally contribute up to 20 percent of the required funds.
“The challenge we are facing now is that our main contributors such as Dundee Precious Metals, Ohorongo Cement and B2Gold trimmed their contribution to this year’s event because of the prevailing tough fiscal times and as a result the council issued a directive that this year’s event should be suspended, with the hope that the economy will improve,” Nunda said.
The two municipal officials revealed that as an alternative the municipality has teamed up with HANO Youth Foundation – a youth developmental entity – through which a fundraiser will be convened on the dates that normally would have been set aside for the trade expo.
HANO Youth Foundation’s coordinator Nocky Kaapehi confirmed the partnership.
He said an alternative event under the banner of the foundation would take place at the town on June 29 – July 1.
Kaapehi revealed the expo aims to establish a network of young leaders and policymakers who will be able to work together to find creative solutions to the issues facing Namibian youth today.
The expo, according to Kaapehi, is also geared to increase the general knowledge among youth and the public on national agendas such as the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP).
“We are envisioning the attendance of between 200 and 300 youth as participants. This expo will set the precedent for new styles of leadership where participants will see the value of collaborations in fields very different from their own,” Kaapehi said. The event will be hosted under the patronage of the Governor of Otjozondjupa Region, Otto Ipinge, New Era has established.