We had just come out of a very turbulent and unfortunate history. The investment community needed to be assured of the government’s stance on how it wants the economy to be run.
Out of that conference was the birth of what has become the foreign investment act. The purpose of the foreign investment act is really to give assurance and to indicate clearly the relationship between government and investors especially foreign investors.
It is to give them comfort and enable them to invest their money and capital into Namibia to join in the development path of Namibia.
From the conference came the birth of The Investment Centre to promote Namibia as a good investment location in Africa, a new country, new possibilities and safe to do business and having the Foreign Investment Act as assurance because it gives certain rights and that’s why it’s called the law, it’s an act. Foreign investors are protected in terms of repatriation, profits etc. So that is the context in which various instruments were sought. One of them which was really a joint effort, I am not so sure if it was really an initiative from the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development itself, or an initiative by the late Paul Van Schalkwyk. I think he came forward with the idea and there was this spirit of wanting to contribute to this new Namibia.
Various players came up with different things and that is what led to the birth of Namibia Trade Directory. Namibia Trade Directory showcased and still showcases Namibia’s best in terms of corporate Namibia.
It was used extensively as the premier promotion material by the then Ministry of Trade and Industry during our international missions. A picture tells a thousand words and people could see that the smart partnership between the private sector and government was so ideal. It became a sought-after publication, it was distributed on Air Namibia, at all the embassies etc.
I would really like to thank Paul Van Schalkwyk for his foresight in developing the Namibia Trade Directory. It has now become a household name, and if we do not receive our annual copy, we wonder when it is coming.
So we always look forward to the next edition. I would also like to thank corporate Namibia for having supported the initiative, because the only way it can exist is by the support of the advertisers.
Did you ever think the Directory would reach the point where it is right now, reaching 25 years and still being used by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (now Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME development.) The Trade Directory was perhaps the most professional and well prepared publication. Even the Head of State wanted it.
With that it became a must have every year. In the 90s, we could already sense that. There was a time that it moved to a different emphasis in the ministry dealing with SME’s. At that time I did not have much to do with NTD and then came back to the office as Executive Director in 1998.
The World Economic Forum was held in Namibia in 1998. We had all the big boys of capital of the world here and the directory was one of the documents we used at the forum to impress our visitors.