Indonesia looks to expand African footprint

Tjiwi Kimia Paper Products Regional Manager, Riska Arieshanty, explaining their company’s strategy to prospective local partners at an investment event organised by the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry. (Photograph by Amerie Bennett).

A delegation of Indonesian businessmen and women hosted by the Indonesian Embassy, met prospective local business partners earlier this week at a business matchmaking event under the auspices of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Relying on the excellent political and diplomatic ties between the two countries, Indonesian and Namibian businesses are looking for more trade opportunities and to grow the trade volume between the two countries.
Annual trade between Namibia and Indonesia in 2014 stood at N$37.2 million with Namibia importing sardines, bath soap, hand-held tractors and wooden furniture while Indonesia imported fish oil, animal skins and distillate fuel.
Among the delegates were representatives from PT.Tunas Baru Lampung, Tbk and Tjiwi Kimia Paper products who are key businesses in the palm oil and paper industries. They gave presentations on their products and how they wish to establish and expand their footprint in Namibia.
Speaking to the Economist, Palm oil manufacturer, PT.Tunas Baru Lampung, Tbk Export Manager, Akhmad Masun said he choose Namibia because despite Namibia having a small population, it is a hub for other countries like Angola, Botswana and Zambia which can be a way of selling his products to other SADC countries.
Though optimistic Masun said he worries that his product will have difficulty penetrating the Namibian market because of the mindset of some Namibians, “Most Namibians believe or think that palm oil is of a lower quality than sunflower oil or marula oil. I hope to prove them wrong, it will take time to change their mindsets but it can be done. I know my product will penetrate the Namibian market because even with such a mindset, Namibia has a population of poor people who will find my product cheaper than other food commodities which are expensive”.
Established in 1973, PT. Tunas Baru Lampung,Tbk is a manufacturer of Rose Brand Cooking Oil, margarine and shortening. The company has since then grown to become one of the largest and lowest-cost vegetable oil producers in Asia.
Responding to a question on whether they would set up a manufacturing plant in Namibia if the raw materials were sourced from Namibia, paper manufacturer Tjiwi Kimia Paper Products Regional Manager, Riska Arieshanty said they first have to see if there is an opportunity for them to accommodate Namibia and then establish a channel to bring their products to Namibia. Tjiwi Kimia has been operating in Africa for 20 years and has a strong presence in Nigeria, Egypt, Mauritania and South Africa.
The delegates indicated they will also be exhibiting their products at the Ongwediva Trade Fair which starts this Friday and runs for a week until 5 September 2015.