Namibia Welcomes First Digital Nomads
Tuesday, 09 May 2023, WindhoekNamibia officially recorded her first digital nomads just five months after the official launch of the
Tuesday, 09 May 2023, Windhoek
Namibia officially recorded her first digital nomads just five months after the official launch of the country’s Digital Nomad Visa (DNV) on 11 October 2022. The programme was launched by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration and Security (MHAISS) and the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB), with the aim of enhancing economic activity in the country. The first two digital nomad visa applications were approved on 14 February 2023.
The DNV program aims to capitalise on the growing global remote workforce by offering location-independent foreign professionals the chance to live, work, and experience Namibia for up to six months. These digital nomads contribute towards the country’’s economy by injecting foreign currency in the ecosystem, but without usurping jobs meant for Namibians.
Early results are encouraging, with over 121 enquiries about the programme recorded so far. Of this number a total of 20 applications were received, out of which nine were approved, with five rejections. The reasons for rejection include applicants who do not meet the income requirements of USD2000 per month, and are thus unable to prove that they can effectively sustain themselves while in Namibia. Other applications were rejected because they were submitted while the applicants were already in Namibia on a different legal status such as a Tourist Visa, or they arrived in the country before approval of their application.
The launch of the DNV earned Namibia international praise, from Cape Town to Germany and as far as Australia. Following the launch, Namibia appeared in over 1,100 social media posts and articles online, across the world. Interest in the DNV primarily originates from Germany, South Africa, and the United States of America, as interested location independent workers search for qualities such as “fresh air,” “different culture,” and “best holiday destination”. Additionally, we have witnessed a surge in queries and applications for the DNV through our website, further demonstrating the growing global interest. This demonstrates Namibia’s potential to harness the digital nomad trend and create new opportunities for local businesses in the tourism and information and communication technologies support sectors.
As an effective marketing tool for Namibia, the DNV program has also created visibility through digital nomads documenting and sharing their experiences on social media and other mass media platforms, showcasing the nation’s natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and hospitality. This increased visibility has the potential to help attract more tourists, investors, and talent, further stimulating the nation’s economic growth and development.
While speaking about her experience as a digital nomad, Carolyn Boston, blogger at ‘Nomad Girl’ said this about Namibia: “When living in Namibia as a digital nomad, you will be rewarded with breathtaking landscape views, making it an ideal place for nomads who want to work surrounded by nature. Stretching across 300,000 square miles, Namibia has an incredibly diverse landscape consisting of mighty dunes, rolling hills, and magnificent coastal deserts. It’s home to a fascinating array of desert-adapted plants and animals and breathtaking natural wonders.”
By design, the DNV complements, rather than competes with, the local workforce, ensuring digital nomads bring their own remote jobs or freelance projects to Namibia. This approach benefits the Namibian economy and its people while creating an environment for local entrepreneurs and professionals to expand their networks, learn from their international counterparts, and explore new avenues for collaboration.
With the global shift towards remote work over the past three (3) years, approximately 47 countries have developed digital nomad visa programs, according to the Harvard School of Business. Namibia is one of only five (5) African countries that offer a Digital Nomad Visa. The other four (4) countries are Seychelles, Cape Verde, Rwanda and Mauritius. The launch of Namibia’s Digital Nomad Visa program is a bold and strategic move that positions the country as a prime destination for remote workers from around the world. By embracing this global trend and offering a world-class visa program, Namibia stands to reap substantial economic, social, and cultural benefits.
Tuesday, 09 May 2023, Windhoek
In order to increase the number of approvals, the NIPDB will be rolling marketing campaigns specifically targeted at the digital nomad community. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) sheets will also be produced to ensure that applicants have access to relevant information pertaining to the qualifying criteria as this will enable the submission of complete applications, thus increasing the approval rates.
Monday, 3 April, Windhoek
Twelve (12) Namibian MSMEs will have an opportunity to showcase their products at the upcoming Creative Africa Nexus (CANEX) on the sidelines of the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) in Cote d’Ivoire this November following their successful win at the 2023 Technovation Social which took place in Windhoek, on Friday 31 March 2023. An initiative of the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB), the 2023 TechNovation Social is a biennial event, established to support and draw inspiration from Namibia’s Culture and Creative Industry (CCI) with the aim to unlock enterprise opportunities for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
The CCI in Namibia continues to be relatively under-supported and under-recognised. This was particularly apparent during the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, when many MSMEs within the industry found themselves without an income. Conversely, this sector offers some of the most dynamic business and career opportunities worldwide. In other countries, the pandemic underscored the importance of the CCI as a catalyst for the creation of new platforms, infrastructure, and facilities, capturing the attention of the world. The NIPDB, thus, believes that an empowered CCI can carry the Namibia brand to the world through its timeless creations.
“The NIPDB is mandated to be the lead coordinator of MSME activities in Namibia and unlock enterprise opportunities that support the development and growth of MSMEs. We achieve this by fostering trust relationships between various stakeholders with the goal to bridge the gap between those who have access to capital and markets and those who need access to those resources. We believe that this is key to empowering MSMEs across industries including, but not limited to, CCI,” stated Chief Executive Officer and Chairperson of the NIPDB, Nangula Uaandja.
TechNovationSocial, thus, exists to rejuvenate Namibia’s CCI sector by offering MSMEs in this industry access to international markets, funding, and revenue-generating prospects, as well as a platform to carry the Namibian brand and showcase their talents on an expansive stage. MSMEs in the CCI were invited to participate in and exhibit at TechNovationSocial. The MSMEs represented various subsectors, including new media and graphic design, fashion design, architecture, technology, software development, game development, pottery, textile manufacturing, music and performing arts, cosmetology, and filmmaking, among others.
Twelve (12) MSMEs were chosen to participate in a seven-month enterprise development journey which will culminate in a participation at the CANEX Summit in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. The CANEX Summit unites creatives from across the continent and beyond, offering a platform for industry visionaries to display their work, collaborate, and forge connections with key decision-makers, influential investors, financial experts, and fellow creative professionals. With a stellar lineup of leading brands, artists, musicians, producers, and distributors, CANEX is poised to become the biggest assembly of creative talent in Africa for the year.
The winners of 2023 TechNovation Social, who represent various regions and sub-sectors are:
This is what two of the winners had to say:
As part of the journey, the 12 MSMEs will participate in a training programme to gain the most value from their experience and participation. Amongst others, the programs will focus on brand development, capacity building, pitching for television and brand visibility through the partner and sponsor organisations – Coca Cola Beverages Africa, FNB Namibia, City of Windhoek, Multichoice Namibia, Turipamwe, Redflag, Creative Culture Investments, Creative Africa Nexus (CANEX) at the Intra-African Trade Forum (IATF), Business Box and the MTC Windhoek Fashion Week.
Private sector collaboration is a crucial driver of MSME growth and development in Namibia, and we are grateful for the unwavering support of our key sponsor for the TechNovation Social event, FNB Namibia, a demonstration of their commitment. “Technovation creates a platform for FNB Namibia’s clients within the cultural and creative industry to grow their businesses, meet like minded individuals as well as engage potential investors while also inspiring the next generation of business owners to chase their dreams and make tangible contributions to our nation,” stated Communication Specialist at FNB Namibia, Hileni Amadhila.
“While creatives work from a place of passion, it is equally crucial to prioritise the business and financial aspects of their ventures. If they are unable to handle these matters themselves, investing in a knowledgeable and trustworthy support team can be the difference between success and failure. Talent alone is not always sufficient to achieve success. To take the business to the next level, one needs to leverage new tools and resources. We at the NIPDB, along with our partners, want to support them on that journey,” shared Executive Director: MSME Development Innovation and Acceleration at the NIPDB, Dino Ballotti.
Global triumphs in the CCI have propelled economic growth in numerous countries. The Philippines has capitalised on pageant participation, utilising events like Miss Universe and Miss World to enhance its global presence, attract tourists, and showcase its cultural heritage. Similarly, the fashion industries in France and Italy have significantly contributed to their economic growth, with Paris and Milan Fashion Weeks positioning them at the vanguard of the global fashion industry, catalysing job creation, innovation, and exports of luxury goods and textiles.
Therefore, through TechNovation Social, we aim to leverage the potential of the creative economy to drive economic transformation, job creation, and sustainable human development. By placing MSMEs with their talents and skills at the centre of the development process and fostering cooperation across all levers of the economy, we can create a more inclusive and socially cohesive society. Our goal is to unlock the full potential of the creative industry and use it to leapfrog our economy into the much-touted knowledge economy.
Tuesday, 11 October 2022, Windhoek
In an endeavour to increase economic activities in the country, Namibia has launched a new visa for remote workers, commonly referred to as digital nomads. The Namibia Digital Nomad Visa (DNV), an initiative of the Government of the Republic of Namibia, invites foreign professionals, who are location independent and self-sufficient, to live, work and travel hassle-free in Namibia for a period of up to six (6) months. The visa can be applied for with immediate effect and Namibia is ready to welcome applications by digital nomads to the country.
According to data compiled by the Harvard School of Business, globally, approximately 47 countries offer Digital Nomad Visas to allow location independent workers to legally work from those countries. The requirements for these visas differ from country to country in terms
of the length of the visa, the level of proof of income required, the cost of the programme and so forth. The NIPDB engaged in a diligent desk review to ensure that the standard of the Namibia Digital Nomad Visa is world class, valuable to digital nomads and serves the best interests of Namibia. Moreover, the convergence of these professionals will spark new connections and have the potential to build new enterprises for #NamibiaToTheWorld.
Speaking at the launch, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chairperson at the NIPDB, Nangula Uaandja shared that the NIPDB exists to unlock opportunities that will enable a better quality of life for all Namibians. In simple terms, NIPDB sees its mandate as that of facilitating employment opportunities whether it be self employment or otherwise and eventually solve the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequalities, a message that is entrenched in the prosperity vision of His Excellency, Dr Hage Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia.
“We have identified that there is an opportunity to attract and gain economic benefit from people who want to work, live and travel in Namibia, without absorbing Namibian jobs. After discussion with our colleagues at the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security, it was agreed that the existing legislative framework offers an opportunity to leverage this proposed instrument, which presents a good potential for Namibians to thrive,” stated Uaandja.
The new visa, which will be available to freelancers or people working remotely for companies outside of Namibia, offers an easy process for foreign nationals to live and work in Namibia. To qualify, aspiring digital nomads are expected to submit the following documents, amongst others:
While representing the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security, Director of Immigration, Nehemia Nghishekwa expressed satisfaction over the launch of the visa and affirmed that the Ministry will collaborate with the NIPDB and relevant stakeholders to ensure successful implementation of this new initiative. “We understand that our systems and processes need to be modernised and respond to the current demands and in this regard we are currently refining our digital infrastructure to enable applicants to complete their entire application and payment process online. While we complete that process in the next two to three months, we are looking forward to start welcoming and processing applications by the first remote workers, through the current systems and processes, with immediate effect.” added Nghishekwa.
The Namibia DNV presents an opportunity to diversify and transform the Namibian business ecosystem and contribute to the economic development of the country, by attracting talented individuals who can inject foreign currency into the country. Additionally, Namibians must anchor themselves into and create value chains by rendering various professional services, solving problems unique to digital nomads, attracting traffic to the hospitality and tourism industry as well as fostering an environment to share knowledge between local and international professionals.
Technology aided, location independent work has risen in popularity over the years. However, following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, people have started to appreciate and embrace remote working as a reality. In this vein, many countries whose tourism sectors have been affected negatively due to a reduction in global travel, began offering specific visas to remote workers such as Digital Nomad Visas. This new visa permits professionals to leverage their remote positions to allow them to live in and travel to holiday destinations and hotspots for months at a time. According to 2021 statistics by A Brother Abroad, there are approximately 35 million digital nomads worldwide, who contribute a global economic value of USD 787 billion.
Wednesday, 7 September 2022, Windhoek
Today the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB) launched the inaugural Know2Grow (K2G) NextGen Entrepreneurs – an annual market access and capacity building platform designed to drive the development and acceleration of innovative businesses by young entrepreneurs. The event is scheduled to take place in Tsumeb on 16 to 18 November 2022.
As part of its mandate, the NIPDB is responsible for building institutional mechanisms to serve as the primary coordinator across all MSME development levers on a national level. In this role, the NIPDB facilitates collaboration between the various stakeholders to ensure the effective implementation of programmes that will create an enabling ecosystem for MSMEs & Startups.
In delivering on this mandate, through the K2G NextGen Entrepreneurs project, the NIPDB is creating a platform for MSMEs to showcase their business offerings, engage various industry stakeholders and create linkages with fellow young entrepreneurs.
The event is open to all MSME ventures across the country, owned by young Namibians between the ages of 18 and 35. “We are very intentional about MSME Development and have various initiatives and programmes targeted at MSME support across all levels and in different sectors. This specific one is youth-focused,” said NIPDB’s Executive Director for MSME Development, Innovation and Acceleration, Dino Ballotti.
The overall objective is to accelerate young entrepreneurs’ business ventures through exposure to potential support and business linkages. “Through various Business Support Organisations (BSO’s) we are able to help accelerate the growth of MSMEs, while creating an enabling environment for scaling, through innovation, value addition and collaboration. We are especially excited to champion this initiative for Namibians in Namibia,” said Ballotti.
In addition to showcasing their products and services, MSMEs will have the added benefit of attending various seminars and workshops, aimed at sharing information about managing their businesses, as well as B2B retail engagements, specifically focused on enabling business owners to get their products on retail shelves.
The NIPDB is cognisant of the fact that the success of the K2G NextGen Entrepreneurs is contingent upon a collaborative effort between the private and public sector, and acknowledges the various partners that have pledged their support for the event. These include Standard Bank Namibia as the lead sponsor, Coca Cola Namibia, ABInBev, Sanlam Namibia, Ohlthaver & List Group and B2Gold.
The event is also supported by Member of Parliament Honourable Patience Masua and Creative Entrepreneur, Luis Munana who will serve as the official Brand Ambassadors.
Applications are now open for exhibitors and food vendors. MSMEs in the following sectors are encouraged to apply: textile & manufacturing, agriculture, horticulture & food processing, aquaculture, electronics & ICT, renewable energy (Green Hydrogen) and pharmaceuticals. The application forms are available on the NIPDB website (www.nipdb.com) and entries close on 21 September 2022.
Tuesday, 10 May 2022, Windhoek
Adequately capacitated MSMEs can be at the forefront of driving the country’s economy.
The NIPDB is mandated, among other things, to build institutional mechanisms and to serve as the primary coordinator across all MSME development levers on a national level. In this role, the NIPDB facilitates collaboration between the various stakeholders to ensure the effective implementation of programmes that will create an enabling ecosystem for MSMEs & Startups.
One such programme is the Know2Grow campaign that the Board officially launched in February 2022. The Know2Grow campaign is the NIPDB’s MSME-focused anchor campaign and is aimed at empowering MSMEs with vital knowledge and information that enable them to scale by gaining access to markets to sell their products or secure funding for business expansion. .
Know2Grow is conducted as formal information sessions facilitated by the NIPDB in collaboration with key partners including commercial banks and government agencies that share relevant information pertaining to starting and operating a MSME business in Namibia. Key topics to be covered include opportunities related to market access and access to funding which are vital for MSME success and scaling.
Since its launch in February 2022, the campaign has been rolled out in the Hardap and //Kharas regions, engaging with over 1,000 MSME owners so far. The NIPDB has set itself an ambitious target of empowering at least 3,000 MSMEs countrywide by the end of the year.
Following the success of the first phase of the campaign, the NIPDB is taking Know2Grow to the northern region, kicking off in Tsumeb in the Oshikoto region on 10 May 2022, and culminating in Katima Mulilo on 20 May 2022. In addition to the experts representing various Business Support Organisations, the NIPDB has enlisted prominent entrepreneurs as speakers to share their entrepreneurship experience and motivate the participants. These include Nico Kaiyamo, an entrepreneur based in Tsumeb, Beata Shitemba, founder of Nels Babies and Kiddies, Keri Kosozi, founder of Usuta Couture and Prisca Mayombelo, Founding Director of PM Transport and Road Safety Consulting.
All sessions are free and open to MSMEs currently operating in or those who aspire to start businesses in the following sectors: Textile and Manufacturing; Agriculture, Horticulture and Food Processing; Electronics and Information, Communication & Technology; Pharmaceuticals, Renewable Energy and Green Hydrogen.
Share this article on:
Tuesday, 05 April 2022, Windhoek
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 on the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region.
Namibia was one of 192 countries that participated in the expo, hosted in the United Arab Emirates from 01 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 & infrastructure, mining, agribusiness and tourism.
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 our target of 60) investment leads primarily in the areas of renewable energy, tourism and education.
One of the ultimate objectives of participating at events such as Expo 2020 Dubai is to stimulate investor interest in Namibia in order to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Given the current status of the Namibian economy, FDI has been identified as 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.
With the official conclusion of the expo, the NIPDB as the facilitating agency for Namibia’s participation has shifted its focus to several key next steps, which include ensuring the safe return of the permanent staff members who were stationed in Dubai to Namibia to resume duties at their respective employers. Additionally, the remaining team has already started with the complex process of decommissioning, which is essentially dismantling the pavilion and ensuring that all the exhibition and sale items are accounted for and that remaining inventory is transported back home.
It is furthermore important to note that the Board is now taking on the mammoth task of converting investments leads into tangible investments. 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 implores the Namibian nation to be patient throughout this process until the investments are realised.
The NIPDB is equally cognisant of the significant financial investment made by the government, the development partners and our various sponsors from both the public and private sector, to secure the country’s participation in the expo. In this regard, 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.
In conclusion, the NIPDB would like to thank all stakeholders, be they individuals, development partners or public and private sector entities that have contributed to the country’s participation at the expo. Namibia was very well represented in Dubai and we have created awareness about our country, arts, cuisine, music, culture, nature conservation efforts, people and of course investment opportunities in the aforementioned sectors. This would not have happened without the support of all our stakeholders.
Monday, 28 March 2022, Windhoek
The Namibian Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai concluded an eventful ‘Namibia Week’ with colourful National Day celebrations on Thursday, 24 March 2022. Namibia Week kicked off with lively Independence celebrations at the pavilion, followed by an Investment Conference hosted by His Excellency President Hage Geingob and facilitated by the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB).
National and Honour Days at Expo 2020 Dubai are moments to celebrate each of the expo’s 200-plus International Participants, shining a light on their culture and achievements and showcasing their pavilions and programming.
Namibia’s National Day celebrations, held at the Al Wasl Plaza dome, were graced by the presence of His Excellency President Hage Geingob and First Lady Monica Geingos, and other guests including several cabinet Ministers, captains of industry and Namibians living in Dubai.
President Geingob, was welcomed by His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, United Arab Emirates (UAE) Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence and Commissioner General of Expo 2020 Dubai who praised Namibia for a successful participation at the expo and highlighted the long-standing relationship between Namibia and the UAE.
His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan said: “Through its participation, Namibia showcases the wealth of opportunities that it has to offer to the world, from its rich culture and biodiversity, to its offerings in renewable energy, infrastructure, and the blue economy, among many others”.
“We share strong bilateral relations with Namibia, and look forward to exploring areas of mutual interest for enhanced partnership and cooperation, in order to achieve our goals for the development and prosperity of our nations.”
On his part, His Excellency President Geingob commended the UAE government for its progressive development-oriented foresight which he said is evident in the successful hosting of the Expo Dubai 2020, despite an ongoing world crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.
He also spoke about key developments in Namibia’s economic trajectory, highlighting the recent “game–changing” oil discoveries as catalysts to Namibia’s industrial transformation. This is in addition to the development of the “Green Hydrogen” and ammonia industry, which has attracted investments of US$6 billion to produce 2 million tons of Ammonia, and generate US$800 million in revenue per annum. “Development of the green hydrogen and ammonia industry has placed us at the forefront of the international green energy discourse”.
President Geingob went on to say that the expo provided a valuable platform “to showcase Namibia’s potential and vast available investment opportunities to those who want to work with us in developing our economy for the benefit of all Namibians and the world”.
“Our expectations in terms of the objectives set out for this Expo were exceeded, as over 300,000 people visited the pavilion. We conversed with potential business partners and development agencies who are keen to help us translate new opportunities into tangible investment projects”. To date, the Namibian Pavilion has generated a total of 187 investment leads, which is well above the targeted 10 leads a month. The NIPDB has commenced the process of engaging with potential investors who expressed interest in investing in Namibia mainly in the green hydrogen, tourism and education industries.
The formal part of the ceremony ended with an official luncheon hosted in honour of Namibia by the UAE government. This gesture is accorded to all participating nations on their respective National and Honour Days.
National Day festivities
National Day celebrations also provide a platform for participating nations to showcase their creative industries, local talent and rich cultural diversity. In this regard, and as part of the commitment to develop the creative and cultural industry, the Namibian Pavilion invited the Multi-cultural Troupe, Gazza, EES and DJ Alba to perform on various stages at the expo, with the full understating of what doors an opportunity like this can open. Athletics champions, Christine Mboma, Beatrice Masilingi, Coach Henk and Miss Supranational Chanique Rabe were also invited to lead and be part of Namibia’s celebratory parade, which literally brought the expo to a standstill for 30 minutes.
The National Day culminated in the ‘Namibia Braai in Dubai’ – featuring show stopping performances by Gazza, EES and DJ Alba and a culinary experience prepared by Namibian Chef Jona Levi and highlighting Namibian cuisine including pap, vetkoek and beer. The braai served as a fitting way to formally close off the country’s participation at the expo that will formally conclude on 31 March 2022.
The NIPDB as the facilitating agency of Namibia’s participation at Expo 2020 Dubai has already started the process of consolidating information for a formal report detailing the Namibian Pavilion’s performance over the six months versus the set targets. Once completed, the report will be presented to stakeholders at the appropriate time.
Monday, 14 February 2022, Windhoek
Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises play an integral part in stimulating socioeconomic development in emerging markets, and Namibia is no exception. With a conducive environment, targeted support programmes and access to empowering information, MSMEs can contribute towards the attainment of national developmental goals. When elevating the role of MSME to the Presidency on 16 March 2020 during the introduction of the new government, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Namibia Dr. Hage G. Geingob stated that MSMEs have a great potential to create jobs, thus the elevation to Office of the President under the NIPDB.
The NIPDB is mandated, among other things, to build institutional mechanisms and to serve as the primary coordinator across all MSME development levers on a national level. Additionally, the Board, in consultation with relevant stakeholders, is tasked with facilitating collaborative roles between the public and private sectors in order to boost Namibia’s economic growth, expansion, and development. In order to achieve this mandate and create a conducive business environment in which MSMEs can flourish, it is important for the NIPDB to be fully cognizant of their needs and pain points.
It was against this background that the NIPDB embarked on a nationwide familiarisation tour last year – engaging with stakeholders including MSMEs, local and regional leaders across all 14 regions to understand their experiences, barriers to success and explore areas of collaboration. Lack of access to market intelligence, funding and markets were identified as some of the key challenges for MSMEs in the country.
In order to address the challenges identified as impeding factors for MSME growth, the NIPDB on Friday launched the Know2Grow campaign. With the aptly named slogan ‘accelerating MSMEs’, Know2Grow is a regional knowledge dissemination, capacity building, and networking initiative that strives to provide MSMEs with critical information including how to scale their businesses by gaining domestic and international market access. The campaign was piloted in Gobabis in December last year (2021) and will be rolled out nationwide over the next six months.
Speaking at the launch, NIPDB Chairperson and CEO, Nangula Uaandja, said the Board recognises the potential impact of MSMEs on the economy if given the opportunities that enhances their market participation. As the lead facilitating agency for MSME development in the country, Uaandja said the NIPDB has the core responsibility of bringing all stakeholders together with the common purpose of providing support to MSMEs in terms of access to funding, mentorship and training programmes and facilitating market access for locally produced products. These efforts will enable the country to build a resilient and sustainable MSME ecosystem.
“Knowledge is power. Therefore the NIPDB in collaboration with stakeholders from the public and private sectors is committed to facilitating the empowerment of MSMES with the right skills, knowledge and opportunities that will enable them to become active role players in building the economy of Namibia”, said Uaandja.
Through Know2Grow, the NIPDB seeks to enable MSMEs to:
On his part, NIPDB’s Executive Director for MSME Development, Innovation & Acceleration, Dino Ballotti said that in order to align the campaign content to the target audience needs, the Board took into consideration the diversity of the MSME sector across the country. “To ensure sustainable regional impact of K2G, the project was designed to have a sector focused approach, which highlights the economic potential of each region in Namibia,” said Ballotti.
To provide tailored assistance to the regions, Know2Grow has identified six (6) industry sectors as key focus areas of the first phase of the campaign. This decision was informed by the engagements with regional leaders, who highlighted their respective regions’ economic areas of focus. These include:
Officially launching the campaign, Minister of Industrialisation and Trade, Hon. Lucia Iipumbu, commended the NIPDB for initiating the Know2Grow campaign as a vital intervention particularly in times like this when the economy is uncertain and businesses are under pressure due to the prolonged impact of COVID 19. “This will surely assist many MSMEs to grow and acquire the much-needed information in terms of funding and other opportunities which will aid them to grow and access market space for their products both; locally and internationally”, said Hon Iipumbu.
Highlighting the role the Know2Grow campaign will play in ensuring long-term economic prosperity for Namibia, Hon. Iipumbu called on collaboration between the Government and private sector at all levels to ensure that “businesses take full advantage of various available opportunities and thus boost economic growth, to achieve our developmental agenda as enshrined in short and long – term development plans such as the Harambee Prosperity Plan, National Development Plans and Vision 2030”.
The first phase of the campaign will kick off in Karasburg on 28 February, followed by Keetmanshoop on 01 March and thereafter Bethanie (02 March 2022) and Lüderitz (03 March 2022).
For more information about the Know2Grow campaign, queries may be directed to: K2G@nipdb.com
Tuesday, 25 January 2022, Windhoek
Three months after joining 191 other nations as a participant at the Expo 2020 Dubai hosted in the United Arab Emirates, Namibia is well on her way to achieving the ambitious goals set for the expo. Located in the Opportunity district at the expo, the Namibian Pavilion continues to shine a light on the country’s unique investment opportunities, highlighting priority sectors such as renewable energy, marine diamonds & mining, tourism & conversation, and cultural heritage.
The expo offers a wealth of opportunities for Namibia to galvanise investment opportunities and explore areas of economic cooperation for mutual benefit with other participating nations. The country is also benefiting in the area of knowledge transfer particularly in terms of technological innovations and other sustainable solutions to economic progression. Essentially, successful participation in the expo provides an opportunity to improve economic complexity through lucrative investment opportunities that will secure long-term benefits such as tourist attraction, job creation and sustainable economic diversification, amongst others. Further to that, investment leads generated at the expo, once concluded, will play a vital role in rebuilding the Namibian economy in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and a sustained contraction over the past few years.
1. Reflecting on the first three months: October – December 2021
a) Pavilion Visitors
Since officially opening its doors on 01 October 2021, the Namibian Pavilion has recorded a steadily increasing visitor count that currently stands at 146,855 representing an average of 37,000 visitors per month. The categories of visitors range from curious expo goers, potential investors to high-ranking government officials including the UAE’s Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, His Excellency Sheikh Shakhboot Nahyan Al Nahyan to our RH Prime Minister, Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, amongst others. The pavilion has also hosted a number of Namibian delegations representing numerous sectors and entities including the Environmental Investment Fund, the Road Administration Fund, City of Windhoek, and the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry – who were in Dubai for various business engagements.
b) Investment Leads
Namibia’s participation at the Expo 2020 Dubai is anchored in the primary objective of positioning the country as an attractive investment destination by stimulating investor interest in the country. In order to be more practical and focused in achieving this goal, a specific target was set to create at least 10 investment leads per month. In this regard, the country has made significant progress in reaching this target. To date a total of 123 investment leads were generated, which is well above the targeted 10 leads a month. Most investor interest is in the area of Green Hydrogen. Recorded leads indicate investor interest in other key industries such as agriculture, education, tourism, and various trade activities. In terms of country of origin, over 50% of potential investors emanate from the United Arab Emirates, with less than 10% of African origin. The highlight of the expo so far is the highly successful Namibia Renewable Energy Summit hosted in November 2021, attended by participants from all over the globe and potential investors from China, India, Zimbabwe, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. The summit was organised with the objective of showcasing investment opportunities in the renewable energy space and to provide insight into the legal framework that governs investments in the Namibian energy sector. The Minister of Mines and Energy, Hon. Tom Alweendo officiated at the hybrid event that featured speakers from the Ministry of Mines and Energy, NamPower and the Electricity Control Board.
2. Travel Restrictions on account of COVID-19
Following the outbreak of the Omicron variant and resultant spike in COVID-19 infections around the world, the United Arab Emirates introduced stringent protocols for health and safety purposes. These include imposing travel restrictions prohibiting visitors from all Southern African countries as well as Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and Ethiopia, entry into the UAE. This development poses a challenge particularly for Namibians required to travel to Dubai for expo related business. However, having operated in an uncertain environment on account of the ongoing pandemic for the past few months, the NIPDB had already put strategies in place to effectively manage these types of situations. It is therefore important to note that while travelling to Dubai may be limited, these restrictions do not pose a significant impact on the country’s activities at the expo. It is business as usual on the ground and the investment promotion work is continuing unabated. The NIPDB would like to assure all stakeholders that all expo related events will proceed as scheduled. As a precautionary measure against COVID-19, some of the activities will be hybrid events while others may be hosted virtually. At this stage, the NIPDB can confirm that there are no plans to cancel any of the scheduled events, although some will be scaled down for health and safety considerations and in compliance with social distance and other protocols introduced by the UAE government. Stakeholder consultations are ongoing to find the most effective approach to achieve our objectives at the expo while safeguarding the health and safety of all people involved. The Namibian team on the ground in Dubai is also tested on a regular basis to ensure they remain safe.
3. Plans for the next three months
With the expo having passed the halfway point in December 2021, Namibia is putting all efforts to ensure a strong finish in March 2022.
In March, Namibia is expected to celebrate its biggest month yet at the expo. With less than two months before the expo concludes, the Namibian Pavilion has put together a schedule packed with events to coincide with the expo’s thematic weeks and aligned to the country’s own strategic agenda. The following events will be hosted by the Namibian Pavilion over the next two months. All events will be streamed on the Namibia Expo and NIPDB social media platforms.
a) Tourism Focus: February 2022
The first two weeks in February are dedicated to tourism, showcasing the Namibian travel experience and positioning the country as a globally competitive holiday destination.
b) Mining and Diamond Mining: 14 – 28 February 2022
Various activities are lined up to showcase the opportunities in the mining sector including events curated to shine a light on Namibia’s diamond industry, share the Namibian Diamond Story and in particular “the Good Diamonds Do” in Namibia.
c) Namibia Investment Conference: 23 March 2022
The Namibia Investment Conference is envisaged to be the climax event of the country’s Expo 2020 Dubai journey and will be one of the final pitches on investment opportunities, brand awareness and export promotion.
d) Namibia National Day: 24 March 2022
All participating countries are accorded an opportunity to celebrate their National Day at Expo 2020 Dubai. Namibia’s National Day will be celebrated on 24 March 2022. Part of the celebrations will include a tour of the Namibian and UAE Pavilions, respectively, a parade and performances to showcase Namibia’s unique culture.
e) Namibian Braai in Dubai: 24 March 2022
Featuring Namibian cuisine, beverages and music, this multi-sensory event will be a vibrant showcase of Namibia’s cultural heritage on the global stage. The expo has also put together key events in March where high ranking Namibian officials are expected to participate. More information on these and the abovementioned events will be shared at a later stage.
The NIPDB as the Investment Promotion Agency for Namibia and custodian of the Namibian Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai would like to assure all stakeholders and the nation at large that the country is on track to achieve the objectives set for the expo. While we acknowledge that the current travel restrictions have stifled some of our plans, we have found a solution to this challenge by leveraging technology to ensure that all investment promotion activities continue as planned. The NIPDB has the mammoth responsibility to ensure a return on the government’s investment into this expo. As such the Board remains committed to carrying out this assignment to ensure that the outcomes of the country’s participation at the expo positively contribute towards ensuring economic prosperity for all Namibians.
Monday, 04 October 2021, Windhoek
In 2013, the Namibian Port Authority (Namport), with the support of the Government of the Republic of Namibia as a shareholder, embarked on an expansion programme through the construction of the New Container Terminal (NCT) at the Port of Walvis Bay. This was done in fulfilment of the NDP5 strategic objective to make Namibia a regional logistics hub.
The New Container Terminal (NCT) is a significant asset to Namport’s balance sheet, and the government strongly believes that it can now provide greater opportunity to promote the country’s economic development agenda, if leveraged, marketed and managed together with certain complementary components.
To further increase the container throughput at the facility and contribute to the country’s other strategic priorities such as job creation and value addition, the Namibian Government seeks to develop a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in near proximity to the port of Walvis Bay.
Furthermore, as part of Namibia’s initiatives to enhance its competitiveness, ease of doing business and ambition to develop into a regional logistics hub, the implementation of a National Single Window (NSW) has also become a priority project and is being considered alongside the development of a SEZ and the management of the NCT by private developers and operators respectively.
To effectively implement the above initiatives, the government has consolidated them into a project called the Walvis Bay Industrial Development Initiative (WIDI).
The WIDI aims to improve Namibia’s efficiency and competitiveness as a regional logistics hub, with the main objective being to positively contribute to the country’s economic development, including the creation of quality jobs and the transfer of key skills for and to Namibians.
Furthermore, through the SEZ, the initiative is expected to aid the conversion of Namibian raw materials and resources to finished and semi-finished products and components as part of the nation’s drive to diversify Namibia’s economy.
The development of a SEZ is expected to significantly stimulate urban renewal and development in Walvis Bay and the wider Erongo Region.
Accordingly, WIDI consists of three project components, namely:
Consequently, on 30 August 2021 the government invited leading global developers and operators with significant capability and well proven experience in port and container terminal management, shipping and logistics sector operations, developers and operators of special economic zones and business development experts, through an Expression of Interest (EOI) to partner with the government in the Walvis Bay Industrial Development Initiative (WIDI).
A National Coordinating Committee, with lead coordination by the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB), has been constituted to identify and approach global market leading operators, and to facilitate the EOI from potential operators and developers on behalf of the government. In addition to the NIPDB, the committee is made up of the following entities: Ministry of Public Enterprises, Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade (MIT), Ministry of Finance (PPP and Procurement Policy Units), Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) and Namibia Industrial Development Agency (NIDA).
The call for Expression of Interest is taking the form of a market sounding process whereby participants with the relevant organisational size, experience and capabilities are invited to express an interest, and simultaneously submit an initial proposal of their approach to the various project components. Participants with an interest in only one of the projects are also encouraged to participate and provide details of their alternative plans to contribute to economic development and the country’s other strategic priorities.
The proposals currently sought from global operators will allow the government to assess the market appetite for partnerships if and when the project components are consolidated, or whether benefit is increased if these projects are considered separately.
Upon conclusion of the EOI process, the Government will then assess whether the interest expressed by the private sector warrants continuing with a subsequent Request for Proposals under the provisions of the Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) Act.
The call for Expressions of Interest which was scheduled to close on October 15th, 2021 is now extended to a closing date of October 30th, 2021. Interested parties may request further information from NIPDB at the details below. The EOI process is expected to be concluded by December 1st, 2021.
The government will ensure that all key stakeholders are effectively consulted throughout the process once the EOI process is finalised and the way forward is decided upon.