The tourism centres are currently being constructed in Kalkrand, Hoachanas, Gochas and Gibeon, while the Mariental SME Industrial Park is receiving a face lift. Funded under the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development’s Karas/Hardap Special Fund through its implementing agency, the Namibia Development Corporation (NDC), the trade and SME facilities are expected to become operational between September this year and March 2016.
NDC has injected approximately N$67 million in these ‘unique’ facilities that are expected to be fully equipped. Tobias Iileka, an Economist at the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development Hardap Office said, the construction of these facilities aims to help SMEs to tap in the lucrative tourism market of the Hardap Region.
“The parks will attract individuals and most importantly, tourists, to buy the goods and services that the locality offers. Secondly, these parks stimulate economic activities in the village or town in which they are constructed,” he said.
According to Iikela, these parks are subsidised by the ministry to offer SMEs with cheap rental space.
“As a ministry, with a strategic plan of promoting industrialisation and enterprise development, we offer conducive and comfortable environment for SMEs to work in, as some towns and villages do not own such structures,” he said.
Iikela urged the Hardap community to have a positive attitude towards these developmental stages and bring their entrepreneurial skills to the fore for a greater Hardap Region.
In an interview last year, Tomas Nghishekwa, the former Hardap Regional Development Planner at the ministry, said that the idea of having fully equipped stalls is to help entrepreneurs start off their SMEs without any complications.
He said, in most cases SMEs struggle to start their businesses because of lack of equipment. “Basically the ministry is making it easier for SMEs to operate. The equipment will be made available through our Equipment Aid Scheme. The other reason why the stalls will be fully equipped is to avoid misuse of stalls, if a stall is meant for a restaurant, it should not be used for a workshop or any other purpose,” Nghishekwa said.
The CEO of the Kalkrand Village Council, Seth Boois said, the construction of a tourism centre in Kalkrand will not only create many different levels of employment but it will also allow local people an opportunity for economic, cultural and educational growth that are not available.
He added, if used properly the tourism centre in Kalkrand will generate income and can be tremendously beneficial to Namibia and the local communities.
“Tourism generated income can be used on a national and local level to better education, improve infrastructure, to fund conservation efforts, and to promote more responsible tourism and see to it that all in the “Namibian House” is benefiting in the final analysis,” he said.