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This week in the Khuta – Kudos to GRN

At a critical moment in history when people all over the world have nothing but disdain for their governments as a result of a myriad of problems in their everyday lives, it was rather refreshing attending the just ended two-day Namibia International Investment Forum which was held at the Safari Hotel in the capital.
It was also refreshing to see government working hand in hand with local business people in an attempt to convince international investors that Namibia is indeed a boutique country as described by the Trade and industry Minister, Dr Hage Geingob. The country can only move forward if government gives a chance to the private sector to play a meaningful role in issues of national development.
This clearly shows that people are united and are working together towards one common goal – that of creating an enabling environment for foreign investors to do business in the country – which can only lead to greater growth which is needed if the country is to attain the goals of  Vision 2030.
From Africa, to the Middle East, to Europe and the America’s, citizens are up in arms with their governments either because of a lack of democracy or because of the austerity measures that governments are implementing in response to the sovereign debt crisis. It is true that here in Namibia we have our own challenges, such as the high unemployment rate and the increasing income disparities, but what is important is government seems to be on the right track to ease our problems.
It is in this vein that i would like to congratulate the government, specifically the Ministry of Trade and Industry, for hosting the international investment forum that saw hundreds of local and international investors flocking to the Safari Hotel to see first hand what Namibia can offer in terms of investment opportunities.
Most of the international investors whom I spoke to had nothing but praise for the level of peace and stability that Namibia enjoys compared to other African countries and for the good infrastructure that we have. Most of the investors, if not all, where impressed with the way government is running the country and were grateful to government for hosting the investment conference.
Investors want to be assured that if they are to make investments in the country their investments will be safe, and with a stable democracy like ours, who would not want to invest here?
The recent floating of Namibia’s debut ten-year euro bond which was oversubscribed five and half times is another proof that the international community has faith in our government’s ability to run the country in a manner that will not threaten their investments. Faith in our government was further confirmed when the rating agency, Moody rated the debt at Baa3 with a Stable outlook, while Fitch Ratings also rated it at BBB with a Positive outlook.
It is now imperative on government, especially the Ministry of Trade and Industry, to see to it that whoever decides to invest in the country after the investment conference should not face unnecessary challenges that could otherwise be avoided. At the end of the day this is very important because no matter how good you market yourself, it will all count to nothing if investors are faced with a number of bottlenecks and red tape that will make it difficult or impossible for them to set up shop in the country.
We also need to take advantage of the lack of investment opportunities world-wide by offering new investors a suite of tax incentives that will encourage them to invest in the country creating the much needed jobs.
If current levels of peace and stability continues, the sky is the limit for Namibia and the country will soon be the envy of its neighbours, if it is not already.

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