Okahandja hosts 6th Annual Tourism and Trade Expo
The 6th Annual Okahandja Tourism and Trade Expo proved to be bigger and better as the number of exhibitors increased from 97 exhibitors in 2013 to 105 this year and about 9710 people visited the expo over the period of four days.
The expo attracted both small and medium enterprises (SMEs), private sector companies and government ministries. The event was blessed with a variety of exhibitors from Okahandja and different parts of the country and exhibitors came from as far as South Africa, Zimbabwe and Nigeria to showcase their products and services in categories such as manufacturing, arts and crafts, information technology, beauty and wellness products, food and beverages and many more.
Speaking at the official opening, Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism, Hon Pohamba Shifeta acknowledged the effort that the municipality did to organize this event. He said the expo is a reflection of the strength of the Town Council’s entrepreneurship, and reflects the progress made by the small and micro enterprises. Shifeta argued that SME enterprises form the backbone of the economy and are the most crucial link between the country’s economic growth and socio-economic transformation.
According to Shifeta, the SME units can only succeed if there is a thorough effort to widen the market for their products. The Deputy Minister mentioned that tourism plays an important role in the economy and it is also the catalyst for poverty reduction, gender equality, wealth and rural development.
“Tourism has been highlighted as one of the sectors under NDP4 which must contribute to economic growth, employment creation, and increased income equality. The tourism sector [offers] various entry points for rural development as it provides opportunities for creating self-employment in small and medium-sized income generating activities that are part of the sub-sectors of tourism”, Shifeta said.
He said tourism was the only sector that was less affected by the recent global economic crises compared to some major sectors such as mining, finance, fishing and manufacturing.
Speaking on behalf of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Shiwa Kalla said that such an expo presents a unique opportunity for businesses nationwide to showcase their products and services that stand the test of not only domestic acceptance and competitiveness but also for international recognition and attention. “For the economy to thrive internationally, the country should become globally competitive. The pivotal component is enterprises that employ world-class standards and best practices. This includes demonstrating an impeccable quality in the production of goods and service delivery. This will not only help attract new consumers and retain existing ones, but also add credibility to a business and inspire investor confidence.” “The Chamber recognizes the importance of putting the business sector at the heart of promoting trade and investments, making the private sector the principle driver of growth and economic development. I implore the local industry to take advantage of opportunities brought by existing regional, bilateral and international trading agreements, some of which offer duty-free market access. We must however not neglect our own market. We should work hard and employ strategies to increase domestic demand for locally produced goods” Kalla said. The expo and the exhibition award ceremony were sponsored by Standard Bank Namibia. Overall exhibitor awards went to the Ministry of Youth National Services Sports and Culture; they also scooped the award for best ministry. Other winners are: Best Tourism & Hospitality; Warthog Fashion Wear, Best Corporate; International Training College Lingua, Best Food Outlet: Likodish Caterers & Décor cc while the award for the best SME went to Shilongo Leather works.