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Buy Namibian, support local business

 General manager of Team Namibia, Lizette Foot. (Photograph contributed)With fuel prices having gone up for the second time this year, the Economist caught up with Team Namibia to discuss what impact this has on local manufacturers/producers.
Hubertus Hamm, Board director of Team Namibia, says the increase in fuel prices does not necessarily give local products a competitive advantage over imported products as prices depend on the weighing of transport cost as a percentage of total cost.
He explained: “Many Namibian manufacturers import ingredients and packaging material which will also affect cost. If the manufacturer has a very high local content on inputs, then there should be a slight positive effect. The competitive advantage is however driven by total cost and that is lower outside Namibia.”
The Namibian economy is very open with imports and exports representing 50% and 45% of GDP respectively. As imports represents a leakage to the economy, the challenge to both the private sector and government, via policy making, is to replace imports with increased local production without too high cost implications for consumers, said Team Namibia.
“Because of the relatively underdeveloped local supply chain, the Namibian multiplier for the various industries is relatively low compared to other countries. If this local chain can be deepened, the multiplier effect will improve exponentially, imports will be reduced and economic growth will accelerate,” the organisation said.
Lizette Foot, managing director of Team Namibia, said the organisation’s vision is to create a preference for Namibian products and services both locally and internationally and to develop the economy by developing a sustainable manufacturing, industrial and business sector by garnering support for local products.
“When consumers see the Team Namibia or Naturally Namibian logos, they know the company or product has a commitment to Namibia, its people, its economy and its future. In practice, our members  apply the Team Namibia logo on their corporate stationery and packaging in order to help consumers identify their products as Namibian,” Foot added.
She said Team Namibia’s focus is to communicate the positive impact of keeping the Namibian dollar in the country.
“We generically promote Namibian products, services and destinations. Locally, we encourage Namibians to buy our own products, use Namibian suppliers and go on holiday in Namibia. Equally, we want to promote Namibian products and services to investors and attract tourists to visit Namibia,” Foot concluded.
Inaugurated in 2003 and spearheaded by the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Namibian Manufacturing Association, Team Namibia has come a long way in promoting consumer preferences on local products and services.

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