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Over N$1 million earmarked for local communities from Sossusvlei concessions

Over N$1 million earmarked for local communities from Sossusvlei concessions

By Heiko Dörgeloh, Managing Member of Grow Namibia CC.

In the wake of recent discussions, notably following an article in The Namibian, it is imperative for us at GROW NAMIBIA CC T/A ABOUT AFRICA CO to clarify the narrative surrounding our successful acquisition of the “Farm Arbeit Adelt Campsite and Sossusvlei Shuttle Service” concession.

This clarification aims to ensure the accurate portrayal of our journey and the integrity of the concession bid process.

Our path to securing this concession was marked by unwavering adherence to principles of fairness, transparency, and ethical practices. We embarked on this journey not solely for the advancement of Namibia’s tourism but with a steadfast commitment to fostering sustainable and community-focused initiatives.

The bidding process, under the auspices of the Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism (MEFT), demonstrated a structured and transparent approach from its inception. From the initial announcement in the Namibian newspapers on November 8, 2023, through to our proactive engagement, site visits, and meticulous bid preparation, our actions were aligned with a broader vision to enhance Namibia’s tourism landscape.

Amidst the discourse, it is crucial to address certain narratives, especially concerning the involvement of Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) in the bidding process. For clarity and transparency, it is important to note that NWR was not only fully aware of the bid but also participated in the required bidding registration, briefing session, and site visit. Despite this, NWR was ultimately disqualified due to the late submission of their bid document—a clear testament to the stringent adherence to the rules and deadlines set by the MEFT, ensuring a fair and competitive bidding environment.

The significance of this concession extends beyond the realms of tourism development to profoundly impact the local communities. Under the visionary leadership of Minister Shifeta and his team, the concession is poised to channel more than 100 million Namibia Dollar into the communities involved, marking a transformative departure from previous engagements, where the services and activities bore benefit only to the operator, and nothing for any community. This concession, a partnership between the communities and our company, reflects the Ministry of Environment and Tourism’s dedication to improving community livelihoods through sustainable projects.

Our Corporate Social Plan outlines not just the financial benefits exceeding 100 million Namibia Dollar but also a comprehensive approach to community engagement and development. This includes initiatives aimed at education, health, and sustainable development, underpinning our commitment to a future where community benefits and sustainable tourism practices are intertwined.

This information was also communicated to the communities present at the signing ceremony held in Mariental in March, making comments that the community was not aware of this, simply not true.

Ignorance, is a much too easy trait, that will eventually just lead to knee-jerk, uninformed and outright childish reactions. The oversight by some, particularly the omission of the significant role and benefits afforded to the communities and the transparent processes adhered to throughout the bidding process, is regrettable. It overlooks the project’s core values of inclusivity and community upliftment.

As we move forward, our dedication to implementing sustainable tourism practices remains unwavering, with a focus on benefiting local communities and preserving Namibia’s unique cultural and environmental heritage. We invite all stakeholders, including our media partners, to join us in this journey, offering an open invitation for dialogue and further insights into our plans.

Together, let us work towards a future where sustainable tourism is a key driver for economic development, community enrichment, and environmental preservation in Namibia.


Featured image by Hugo Coetzee showing a flooded Sossusvlei in 2021.


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