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Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair promises quality

The annual trade fair in Ogwediva has become the premier business event in the North.

The annual trade fair in Ogwediva has become the premier business event in the North.

Chairperson of the Trade Fair, Damian Egumbo speaks to the Economist on this year’s targets, planning, preparations and highlights

The 13th edition of the Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair promises to surpass all previous trade fairs, both in terms of quality and quantity. Special emphasis has been place on exhibition excellence, setting the stage to accommodate the more than 110,000 visitors expected. As a trade promotion platform, the fair has developed into the biggest business event of the North, with strong linkages to cross-border trade with Angola.
The Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair is held under the auspices of the Ongwendiva Town Council and  takes place from this Friday, 24 August until Saturday 01 September.
“The fair draws its participation from entrepreneurs, SME’s, corperate entities, government ministries and departments, as well as local, regional and international exhibitors. The programme of activities consist of various exhibitions, daily business conferences, workshops and presentations, livestock shows, and an extensive after-hours entertainment programme,” said Damian Egumbo, Chairperson of the Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair.
According to Egumbo, 46 out of 450 confirmed exhibitors in this year’s fair are international exhibitors from South Africa, Botswana, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Indonesia and Japan, amongst others. He confirmed that all exhibition halls are fully booked.
“Twenty international exhibitors are first time exhibitors at the fair. The international exhibitions are in the following sectors: education, textile and clothing, electronics, kitchen appliances and pottery. The majority foreign exhibitors are from Botswana,” he said.
He also said that livestock will be on sale during the week long event, and that the committee continues with their pursuit to develop the livestock show as an integral part of the fair. The organisers have partnered with UNAM and local farmers to host a livestock show this year.
“The Management of the Trade Centre is engaged in a continuous improvement programme to address the growing demand for quality exhibition spaces. As for OATF 2012, new electrical infrastructure development is underway while a new pedestrian gate, complete with a paved walkway, has been completed. Pedestrians making use of public transport are encouraged to make use of the new entrance gate as it shall be more convenient,” he said.
“Safety and security remains our outmost priority. Ongediva Annual Trade Fair preparatory committee in partnership with the Namibian Police and other security agents will be on alert for the entire duration of the fair. Over 100 uniformed security personnel will be deployed on the grounds at all times during the fair,” said Egumbo.
He further stated that Ongwediva Town Council invests in the Trade Centre and in the Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair as both the centre and Trade Fair serve as vehicles for regional and local economic development.
“The towns in Northern Namibia are experiencing an upward trend both in economic activities and investment. The Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair is one of the important events that has certainly exposed Ongwediva and other towns to major investments and business opportunities,” he said.
Egumba also indicated that the committee has already started planning for next year’s trade fair and beyond. In their planning, they take a long-term view with the focus on promoting industrial and manufacturing industry exhibitions as a drive to their objective to conquer new markets. The development of this sector is a flagship project for the Trade Fair’s Preparatory Committee and an important platform for the Ongwediva Town Council to ensure sustainable service delivery.
“The Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair Preparatory Committee welcomes the emergence of new trade shows and expo’s as it serves as a driver and motivation for OATF to explore new markets and excel. We would however like to see that the industry is organised to avoid collisions in dates of exhibitions and to ensure that a minimum standard is set for exhibitions across Namibia for the benefit of the exhibitors and visitors and for the good reputation of the country at large,” he added.
The Trade Centre where the fair is hosted, covers an area of 94965 m² (9,4965 ha). An additional piece of land measuring 1 hectare was added to the Trade Centre area for future expansion of the facility.
The centre consist of offices, a conference hall, restaurant, three exhibition halls, entertainment kiosks, ablution blocks, ticket offices, stores, cattle pens and a vast open space both for parking purposes and for future extension of the centre.
The official opening takes place on Monday, 27 August and will be officiated by His Excellency President Hifikepunye Pohamba.

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