Local is lekker – A strategy for local investors to own the Grove Mall
By Josef Kefas Sheehama.
A rich society is one where locals are able to prosper but economic processes often impact the lives and livelihoods of people who have little or no voice. Thus, economic development and social justice must go hand in hand by encouraging economic transformation that increases material opportunity in ways that promote an open society and prosperous individuals.
Atterbury Property Holdings, owned by the JSE-listed Atterbury Group is planning to sell the Grove Mall of Namibia to Zimbabwean investors. The Zimbabwean investors, mainly pension funds, are working on plans to take over a N$1.8 billion property. The mall is the largest commercial property investment ever made in the country and it has benefitted from GIPF’s unlisted investments. The Grove Mall of Namibia offers a wide range of 126 shops and creative setting of 55,000m² with an annual turnover of about N$890 million.
In my opinion, the Grove Mall’s intended sale offers a unique opportunity to the youth of Namibia through a so-called Initial Public Offering (IPO). In our rapidly changing world of work, no one knows for certain which jobs will become obsolete or emerge. What is clear, though, is the world’s young people are eager to secure livelihoods that will help them create the futures they want.
If MTC has raised N$2.541 billion from its IPO at a share price of N$8.50 per share, I am convinced that we can apply the same methodology to raise capital locally to acquire the Grove Mall to guarantee the future of our youth. For argument’s sake, let say we want to list the Grove Mall on the Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) to raise capital at a subscription price of N$6.50 per share with the intent to raise N$ 1.80 billion to members of the general public. With 276 million shares on offer to the public at a minimum of 250 shares per application, it requires only N$1625 per investor to raise the target amount.
Participating in the market like this, is also a great chance to gain valuable experience and encourage young people to become entrepreneurs. Looking at the large numbers of unemployed graduates, the idea that education opens doors to employment and success does not hold. The number of unemployed youths is high irrespective of educational level. Many young people have lost hope of finding a job that matches their skillset or in the area they reside. Therefore, the Grove Mall should sell to local investors and the process must be guided by a qualified and accredited Asset Manager.
Furthermore, encouraging local investors will strengthen the economy. It will mobilize revenues to ensure that there is state and public ownership of great chunks of the economy that is presently being handed over to foreigners. It will end the heavy, unstable and perilous dependence on foreign funds, franchises and investment.
To understand the importance of youth in society, it is crucial to look at the various roles they play. We cannot speak of industrialization if the youth does not form part of the big machine. The youth is the heartbeat of a nation. In contrast to the old society where the elders used to make all the important decisions concerning day to day life, in modern society, the youth plays an active role in this process. The youth actively participates and partially drives political, social and economic development. The technological advancements which have seen the world turn into a local village, in the sense that people can communicate with each other instantly, regardless of the places in the world they are, can also drive the changes we need to implement for a better future, with socioeconomic development at the center of these changes.
Moreover, Namibia should internalize the positive experiences of the best industrialized countries in the world, and itself become an industrialized nation by the year 2030. Youth Entrepreneurship Policy is a must for Namibia. This shows deliberate efforts from governments to drive entrepreneurship and to assist future job creators at the very outset of their initiatives. The Development Bank of Namibia and Agribank launched the youth loan initiatives, with relaxed conditions to encourage participation and enhanced financial inclusion.
The contrary is true that, the direct executors of violence and insecurity are usually the youth. This is usually contributed to a great extent to the high rate of unemployment among the youth. This usually gives them a sense of hopelessness, and when approached by the people who want them to do the dirty work for them, the first thought which usually comes to their minds is that this is an opportunity to make money. The perception is that they have nothing to lose. Such scenarios lead to a significant number of youths getting involved in illegal businesses such as drug trafficking and robbery which are crimes and most of the time involve violence.
Some people are also recruited into gang groups, and the result of this is the deterioration of security in Namibia. This derails development by first of all hindering effective education, as the young ones grow into youth-hood believing that one does not need education to be successful, which is a very misleading notion.
To that end, with the spirit of Ubuntu within us (Africans), it is imperative that we help young people to achieve their best for our future. Also, let’s offer to capable local investors first before it’s offered to our Zimbabwean investors. If we follow these steps we shall create a peaceful environment and transition, because the Grove Mall was built with a portion of GIPF unlisted investments.
Ultimately, young people are hungry for better options. They are rejecting the status quo and demanding a better future. Many of them are claiming their right to a decent living, and they are willing to take risks to do so. The more young people grow into well-educated adults with fewer dependents and new opportunities to acquire wealth, savings and purchasing power, the more they will be able to accelerate economic growth and development.