Businesses and government must collaborate more effectively together to improve the economy – experts
Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB), together with Namibia Equity Brokers and Ernst and Young last week held their annual economic summit, for corporates and business clients at the Safari Conference Centre in Windhoek.
At the summit the speakers agreed that for Namibia to improve its business climate and move out of its current economic slump, both business and government must collaborate more effectively.
The platform created an opportunity for business people to network and experience high-quality presentations and a panel discussion with knowledgeable presenters.
The summit this year unpacked the impact of human psychology on how we do business and specifically on how we overcome dire situations and economic challenges.
Psychologist, Siegfried Lange provided some perspective on the laws or principles of human nature in the keynote address. He said people typically think things are better outside the country.
Lange ended his energetic presentation by asking attendees, “do your people exist in your business or does your business exist in your people?”
Dennis Zekveld, the country chair of Shell Namibia extolled the value in diversity and inclusion in organisations under the theme, ‘Leadership has no silver bullet’.
He encouraged business leaders who attended the gathering to “open up so people feel free to provide feedback”. He also urged leaders to be careful of driving performance at all cost, as “performance with the wrong behaviour is dangerous.”
Zekveld further told the audience to genuinely care about those around them and lead with courage, humility as well as promote collaborations. He also reminded Namibians that the country is not an island and that we are in competition with countries from around the world. He, however, cautioned that Namibia should look at the right countries to emulate.
A panel discussion after the presentations investigated ways of growing the economy. Penda Ithindi, the Senior Technical Economic Advisor to Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein, said the economy is not out of the woods yet but that the numbers show that “we are getting there”.
He predicted that the construction and retail industry will rebound soon and repeated the often-used line that Namibia is always lauded for good policies but that implementation falls flat.
Ithindi assured attendees that the Namibian Government values partnerships and that their doors are open for consultations and collaborations. He however warned that the private sector was too reliant on Government contracts, which was dangerous as, “when a downturn hits us, we’ll all be in the intensive care unit (ICU). We need to put resources where it matters the most and create jobs”.
Ngoni Bopoto, research analyst at Namibia Equity Brokers pleaded for the strengthening of research. “It comes down to self-discovery. We do not understand enough of ourselves to be able to chart a sustainable way forward,” he added.
“We need to rely more on our sources of research rather than foreign consultants. They come here, interview me and a couple of other people and tell us the way forward,” he said.
Businesspersons from Namibia’s private and pubic sector left the Nedbank CIB Summit with contacts for cooperation to overcome challenges to develop Namibia.
Caption: Facilitator – Candy Ngula, Research Analyst at Namibia Equity Brokers – Ngoni Bopoto, Country Chair of Shell Namibia – Dennis Zekveld, Senior Technical Economic Advisor to the Minister of Finance – Penda Ithindi, Managing Consultant at Capacity Trust – Siegfried Lange and Head; Corporate and Investment Banking at Nedbank Namibia – Dr. Edward Turner.