Guest Contributor | Feb 18, 2019 | 0
Bigger Ondangwa Trade Exhibition
Another year of successful trading and exhibiting took place at the Ondangwa Trade and Industrial Exhibition held last week. This year the event was visited by a larger audience compared to previous years, and it had over 250 exhibitors who showcased a variety of services and products. Some of the major highlights of the event, was the visit of the Ondonga King, Elifas Kauluma from the community in Olukonda, and the much-anticipated cattle auction by exhibitors. At the official opening ceremony on Tuesday, 29 April, President Hifikepunye Pohamba stated that the event had experienced remarkable benefits from past exhibitions and that it had grown each year, attracting an ever larger number of exhibitors and spectators. Pohamba commended the organisers and said their efforts undoubtedly bear all the hallmarks of visionary and dedicated leadership, which must be applauded. It was his hope that the Exhibition would steer the organisers, exhibitors, visitors and the entire spectrum of stakeholders to make use of the platform to think, plan and act with innovation. The President stated that he was further informed that the organizers expect the number to grow substantially, as a lot of improvements were made with regard to the intensified marketing strategies and the programme, which amongst others include a livestock auction, a boxing bonanza and the Day of the Majesty the King and His Council of Headmen, where the royal establishment history of the area is narrated.
“Exhibitions such as these can be used as opportunities for various businesses to showcase and inform the public and prospective investors of their services offered and the goods they produce. While the initiative is commendable for its contribution towards local economic development, trade and investment and community development at large, the industry should be encouraged to develop and enforce a regulatory framework to add more value and to ensure that standards are maintained,” stated the President. He added that the government will continue to support events of this nature to create awareness of the importance of the country’s domestic market. Additionally, he said that mechanisms have been put in place to ensure that local businesses especially SMEs have access to public tenders for the provision of services and implementation of government-funded development projects. “Our target is entrepreneurial youth, women and men who have been deterred from starting new businesses due to a lack of collateral and access to finance. The government, through the Ministry of Trade and Industry has adopted the concept of “growth at home” as an economic strategy. This strategy aims at diversifying the economy and encouraging local value addition and manufacturing,” he said. He also mentioned other interventions by the government such as the Business Site and premises Development Programme; which gives affordable sites and oremises to SMEs, the Business Support Service Programme, where business plans and feasibility studies are developed, as well as entrepreneur training and mentorship services. The Export Market Assistance Programme (EMAP) is designed to promote growth of trade and to enable exporting manufacturers to be competitive. Finally, the Equipment Aid Scheme assists SMEs to acquire appropriate production technology in the form of equipment and machinery to compete for tenders and to improve their productivity.