Arandis: A town with endless opportunities
The dormitory town of Arandis has been described as a place with endless investment opportunities in the manufacturing, tourism and education sector because of its location.
Delegates to the second Arandis Investment Conference and Mineral, Mining and Energy Expo which ended on Friday 26 April have urged the town council to take advantage of the town’s proximity to some of the country’s biggest mines and the harbour town of Walvis Bay to promote it into a town of choice for investors.
Sem Shikongo, the Director of Tourism in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism said the town should consider opening a school for film production. Shikongo said the opening of the school will create employment for the locals by producing documentaries and other products based on the demand within Namibia and elsewhere.
He urged the local authority to invest in building the necessary tourism infrastructure that will attract visitors to the town, and to build or re-activate the mining museum as a tourism product in the area.
Shikongo said mining companies operating in the surrounding areas should provide funding for the development of the town. In order to do this, he said the central government must put in place a mechanism to compel mining companies to invest a certain percentage of their profits in the upliftment and improvement of the quality of life in local communities.
In addition, Shikongo said the town council of Arandis must explore ways of benefiting from the surrounding mines by organising periodic tours to the mines.
Eckhard Muller, the executive director of Namibian Institute of Mining and Technology (NIMT) said Arandis should have a tertiary institution offering certificates and national diploma qualifications. Like Shikongo, Muller said mining enterprises and other stakeholders should contribute financially towards the further upliftment of education in Arandis as part of their social responsibility programmes.
Arandis Mayor, Daniel Muhuura said recommendations from the conference will be incorporated into the town’s second five-year strategic plan. He said the Arandis council had learnt a lot from the discussions at the conference.
Muhuura said: “As a council what we learnt is that we have to utilise our competitive advantages that we are having as a town. We have to benefit from the fact that we are a town which is very close to a harbour town, Walvis Bay, and most importantly, we are surrounded by all these mines.”
The Mayor said the fact that Arandis is a free crime area and was not part of the rust belt area should also count in its favour.
He added that the conference had taught the council to create incentives that can attract investors. “And one of these is that we are having abundant land. If we can control our land and make it affordable to the investors as compared to other towns, I think that will be to our interest,” he said.