TSUMEB - The mayor of Tsumeb, Mathews Hangula has appealed to stakeholders to join hands and transform Tsumeb into a tourism hub instead of just serving as a gateway.
Hangula made the remarks during the official opening of the 17th edition of Tsumeb Copper Festival, which ends on Saturday. Over 150 exhibitors are showcasing their products.
“With our strategic location and relevant partners, Tsumeb must endeavour to be not only a gateway, but to become a destination where tourists will choose to stay,” he stated.
The mayor noted that Tsumeb has seen an upsurge, hence a need to fully strengthen its potential as a welcoming tourism town. Furthermore, he said, Tsumeb’s natural heritage conservation and harvesting of benefits from tourism is now producing positive results and enhancing the living standards of communities.
Junior mayor Xamira Hangara instilled the importance of the festival, saying it gives an opportunity to entrepreneurs to generate an income. She is concerned about high unemployment, alcohol and drug abuse.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila in a speech read on her behalf by the Presidential Affairs Minister Martin Andjaba, said the festival serves as a platform for exchanging ideas and for peer-to-peer learning, especially at a time when the business environment is negatively impacted by the economic sluggish.
“I urge the participating organisations to make full use of this opportunity in order to grow their businesses and thereby contribute to the long-term economic development of the country,” emphasised Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.
The prime minister added that the SMEs has a big role in growing the economy, as they do not only contribute to the Gross Domestic Product, but pulls the masses from poverty.
Furthermore, she said government is in full support to grow and level the ground for SMEs in order to become growth engines. She cited interventions such as the facilitation to participate in international trades, provision of business financing, introduction of skill-based lending; targeting young professional businesses, as some of the government’s role in enhancing SMEs.
Another enabler was the promotion of local enterprises development through the public procurement, by setting aside tenders for local businesses owned by women and youth.
Meanwhile, Dundee Precious Metal vice president Zebra Kasete said as a mining giant, they will continue to collaborate with government on its efforts of drought resilience.