After an eventful six months of promoting Namibia as an investment and tourist destination at the Expo 2020 Dubai, the Namibian Pavilion has officially closed its doors as the curtain falls.
Namibia was one of 192 countries that participated in the expo, hosted in the United Arab Emirates from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022.
As an emerging market, Namibia leveraged the expo’s convening power to create awareness about the country’s tourism and investment potential as well as a place to work, live and develop.
“The expo also provided an opportune platform for the country to engage with potential investors and showcase investment opportunities in the priority sectors identified by the government, which include renewable energy, logistics and infrastructure, mining, agribusiness and tourism,” said Catherine Shipushu, senior manager of marketing, branding and communications at the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB).
She stated investment and tourism promotion have been an integral part of the country’s activities – and at the closing of the expo on 31 March 2022, the Namibian pavilion had recorded a total of 397 255 visitors from all over the world, and 192 (which is far higher than the target of 60) investment leads primarily in the areas of renewable energy, tourism and education.
Shipushu stressed that one of the ultimate objectives of participating in events such as Expo 2020 Dubai is to stimulate investor interest in Namibia to attract foreign direct investment (FDI).
Given the current status of the Namibian economy, FDI is critical to the country’s economic recovery and unlocking opportunities that enable a better quality of life for all Namibians.
“As the country secures investments, the revenue generated through these investments will support and complement government’s efforts to roll out developmental interventions such as job creation and other poverty alleviation programmes. NIPDB is now taking on the mammoth task of converting investment leads into tangible investments,” she stated.
Shipushu said this is a long process that involves back and forth negotiations with potential investors, the results of which may not be immediately visible. The board, therefore, implored the Namibian nation to be patient throughout this process until the investments are realised.
She added the board is compiling a comprehensive report, detailing the activities and achievements of the Namibian pavilion over the six months of the expo: “That report will first and foremost be presented to Cabinet and thereafter to other relevant stakeholders. With the decommissioning process set to be completed by 30 April, the accountability reporting to stakeholders is scheduled to run from 1 May and will be completed by the end of June 2022”.
As one of the events, Namibia hosted an Investment Summit in Dubai, which was well attended by President Hage Geingob and relevant ministers, such as the ministers of agriculture and trade, to present investment opportunities in Namibia.
Some of the areas that were presented in the agricultural sector were the newly-constructed N$5.7 billion Neckartal Dam in the //Kharas region, inaugurated in 2020, which holds real potential for investors due to the availability of both water and land for irrigation, where a variety of crops can be planted.
Agriculture minister Calle Schlettwein also stated the country has about 11 green schemes on irrigated plots, where there is free water.
According to Schlettwein, these centres need to be integrated with livestock and a smart mix of crops.
Speaking at the launch of the summit, Geingob said those who cannot become investment partners should try to become Namibia’s tourism partners, adding that the aim of the summit was to partner with renowned investors and business people to take Namibia to the next level of