President Hage Geingob will begin his 14-day visit to the United States of America today, where he is leading a powerful Namibia delegation to Washington, DC, to take part in the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit 2022.
The summit, under the theme ‘A Growing Partnership’, according to organisers, aims to serve as a demonstration of Joe Biden’s administration’s commitment to one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest-growing regions, Africa.
The three-day Washington event will bring together leaders from across the African continent to discuss bold, practical ways to strengthen ties and share advanced priorities, according to organisers.
Namibia has long-standing relations with the United States, including policy agreements under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), through which the country has duty-free access to the US market.
Presidential spokesperson Alfredo Hengari said AGOA is expected to feature prominently on the summit programme with a dedicated session focused particularly on its implementation, including strengthening economic cooperation, expanding two-way trade and investment, supporting regional economic integration and sharing perspectives on other key issues of mutual interest affecting US-Africa trade.
“For emerging economies, such as Namibia, the summit provides an opportune platform to further strengthen existing bilateral relations and mobilise investments to drive industrialisation and enable the country to address challenges such as unemployment and economic imbalances,” he said.
He said Geingob will lead a strong delegation to the summit, composed of senior government leaders, private sector representatives and the business community.
“We are aware that a direct invitation was extended to two Namibian companies by the US government to attend the business forum that will be hosted alongside the leaders’ summit,” said Hengari.
The two companies are Meatco and Jabu Logistics.
Meatco is the only African company exporting beef to the US, while Jabu Logistics is an MSME that has so far created over 300 jobs in Namibia, and it is one of southern Africa’s fastest-growing e-commerce platforms for small retailers.
According to Hengari, the business community will be represented by at least three companies that have made their arrangements and paid respective costs to join the delegation.
These entities, he said, will be participating in the various sidelines events that will be held in Washington by the host and various other companies from around the world.
“The NIPDB is working with these companies to further support them in arranging one-on0-one meetings with potential investors and customers.
“Two of these companies are beneficiaries of business opportunities previously provided by being part of the presidential delegation,” Hengari added.
He said Namibia is committed to promoting and nurturing the vibrant spirit of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), as well as creating opportunities that catalyse their growth and development.
“It is against this background that a total of four high potential MSMEs with scalable business models were identified and selected to travel to Washington as part of the Namibian delegation – with the ultimate aim of connecting them with potential investors, exploring opportunities to secure grant funding, off-take and open access to new markets,” he said.
Hengari said the four MSMES are the Rundu-based Wapa-Nawa Recycling Centre; Kamatjona, a company redefining how young people live, work and travel by providing services to digital nomads primarily from northern and western Europe; Black Gold Engineering, a LED light manufacturer and distributor of cost-effective, environmentally friendly, and 100% recyclable products as well as Mekenificent, a wellness service provider.
“Targeted meetings have been secured with representatives from international organisations, including the World Bank Group, International Financing Company (IFC) and Bloomberg, where each of these MSMEs will showcase their offerings, as well as network with potential investors and counterparts,” he stressed.
“Government remains optimistic about the country’s economic future and realising the dream for prosperity for all citizens. To chart its future and respond to the current and future economic challenges, it is imperative for Namibia to attract investments that catalyse economic growth and minimise the socio-economic impact of challenges, such as the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Hengari said, in addition to one-on-one meetings to be held with various potential investors and attendance of sideline events, the NIPDB is organising two specific investment promotion side events.
Hengari said to position Namibia as a destination of choice, Namibia sponsored a high-level investor engagement event that will be hosted by the renowned media company, Bloomberg.
“We look forward to a successful summit and unlocking opportunities that support the country’s aspirations for economic recovery and enabling a better quality of life for all Namibians,” said Hengari.
Geingob is expected back in the country on 23 December.