DEPUTY prime minister and minister of international relations and cooperation Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said the time has come for Africans to take care of Africans to grow their economies.
Nandi-Ndaitwah was speaking during the launch of the Keetmanshoop Agriculture, Industrial and Trade Expo in the //Kharas region on Tuesday.
She said Africans often prefer to deal with European countries when doing business.
Efforts by African nations such as the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement are expected to create the largest free trade area in the world, measured by the number of countries participating.
The agreement connects 1,3 billion people across 55 countries with a combined gross domestic product valued at US$3,4 trillion. It holds the potential to bring 30 million people in Africa out of extreme poverty and to raise the incomes of 68 million others, who live on less than US$5,50 per day.
“I am not saying we should not deal with Europe, but we must see that in Africa we work together as Africans, in order for us to have power in the international business system,” said Nandi-Ndaitwah.
Equally, she said in order to ensure sustainable development which is a fundamental condition to realise the objectives of providing a better life for all people, there is a need to preserve peace and stability as a precious asset and common denominator.
“We must see and treat ourselves first and foremost as Namibians. And unity and peace in diversity is the way to go,” she said.
Speaking at the same occasion, //Kharas governor, Aletha Frederick, said the under-exploited potential of the region lies in the agriculture and tourism sectors, as well as in the envisioned green hydrogen energy development.
Frederick said the economic growth potential of these sectors could be expanded along the Orange River, Naute Dam and Neckertal Dam, to address food security in the region and beyond.
She said all these sectors have higher growth potential, and with an effective and functional higher education ecosystem currently in place, there is capacity for technological enhancement for the greater industrialisation of industries.
“For us in the south, growth in agriculture and tourism means higher jobs opportunity, growth in small and medium enterprises; expansion in other value and supply chains, and strengthening of the rural economy through higher production and expansion of tourism services in the region, as well as preservation and promotion of natural resources and cultural heritage,” said Frederick.
Expo president Charles Jossop said it is an ideal platform for small and medium enterprise owners to display and sell their goods and services to create an income.
“I am delighted today to announce that we are hosting this years’ event, because for the past two years we could not do so due to the devastating effects of Covid-19,” said Jossop.
This year’s expo will also feature exhibitors from the Northern Cape province in South Africa, with which the //Kharas region has a twinning agreement.