OPUWO – Opuwo town hosted yet another successful trade fair under the theme ‘Promoting Entrepreneurship and Cultural Diversity,’’ which ended over the weekend
The trade fair saw a number of exhibitors and visitors flocking into Opuwo from as far as India, Kenya and Tanzania and this year was extraordinary because of the much talked about music band Soul Bothers from South Africa, who graced the event with their exciting soulful performance.
Government dignitaries who attended included Obeth Kandjoze, patron of Opuwo Trade Fair Society, Natangwe Iithete, Deputy Minister of Finance and Allexia Manombe-Ncube, Deputy Minister of Disability Affairs in the Office of the Vice-President.
Addressing the gathering at the official opening was the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, who stressed that the richness of any country depends on its culture when it is well utilised, which can make a meaningful contribution to economic growth.
She said the central elements in most if not all African culture are shared responsibility, solidarity and working for a common good.
She stressed the importance of trade fairs as a mechanism for promoting and providing opportunities for face-to-face contact, and she believes the interface between and among exhibitors and visitors will bring desirable results.
“It is my sincere hope that this trade fair will boost the stimulation of the economic development of the town and the surrounding areas and eventually contribute to the overall economic success of Namibia as a country,” she said.
She feels the theme of this year’s trade fair should not just exist in word and paper but should be translated into action to influence the livelihood of the nation.
As Kunene is known to be rich in natural resources, Nandi-Ndaitwa wishes for the resources to be processed locally for the creation of jobs for the inhabitants, instead of exporting raw materials which is as good as exporting jobs which are supposed to benefit the youth and the unemployed people in the region.
“So far Africa has taken a decision for at least 15% of the continent’s natural resources not to leave the continent unprocessed, however, I do not know how many countries are implementing that decision,” she said.
“Within the Namibian context, trade fairs expose the rural communities, small and medium enterprises whose livelihood depend on traditional delicacies. The importance of these sectors is often overlooked and underestimated but it represents and defines our norms and traditions,” she said.
*Selma Gumbo is an information officer working for the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology in Kunene Region.