The Covid-19 were stressed by the pandemic. pandemic continues Methods of managing supply to cause severe chains were not sufficient for harm to the the unpredictable environment global economy, of Covid-19, including spikes in affecting trade, demand, partners who suddenly investment, industrialisation, paused or ceased operations, international travel, and general and sudden material and product global supply and demand for goods and services. Namibia has not been spared from the economic devastation: the impact of Covid-19 on the local economy, including the loss of income and jobs, is clearly visible and has affected our businesses’ productivity and growth. This calls for our maximum effort to build our businesses’ resilience, to ensure that Covid-19 does not surpass our effort to grow our businesses and threaten our business survival and sustainability. The pandemic has also unlocked opportunities and presents us with outlooks – in particular around domestic production capacities in various areas – and it is important to optimise this economic dynamism and translate it into innovative ventures for economic sustainability.
The Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade’s business support development initiatives have been customised to form part of the countrywide recovery plan. The crisis will have a profound negative impact on economic growth, but it is our belief that together with you, as our key stakeholders, we have an opportunity to reposition and explore immediate and recovery support to our economy. As the custodian for business development and support in general, the ministry will continue to make considerable efforts to assist entrepreneurs in several ways, especially those affected by the pandemic, and will continue to work with strategic partners in order to provide the much-needed support to our entrepreneurs.
KEY LESSONS LEARNED
Key lessons from the pandemic include the disruptions to the businesses’ supply chains that were not identified until they shortages as well as the importance of being able to react, adapt and set up crisis management mechanisms to weather situations of uncertainty. The pandemic also brought to the fore the importance of digitalisation and the need to embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution as movements were restricted for months and the only best possible option was to transact online.
AFCFTA IS CRITICAL
The operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has to be accelerated to address the shortages by rationalising local production. Removing tariffs and border controls would facilitate the transit of goods and people. The Covid-19 crisis highlighted the need to expand the road network, which proved vital for the delivery of food in the early months of the crisis, as sea and air links had been completely closed. The country also needs to prioritise the pharmaceutical sector development to safeguard the health of the citizens and ensure sufficient capacity of the much- needed medication.
RESILIENCE ‘CALLS FOR A POSITIVE ATTITUDE’
This year’s theme of resilience also calls for a positive attitude, confidence, conviction, the ability to preserve through the economic headwings, and the ability to see failure as a form of learning curve to do things differently and to find new innovative modalities in conduction trade. Therefore, as government, we are mindful that our economic, social and environmental future rests on our ability to place people at the centre of decision making by formulating responsive policies and strategies which speak to the current situation. Therefore effective governance, responsive institutions, and stakeholder engagements are the foundation of sustainable development.
We remain optimistic about our prospects to recover from the devastation of 2020 and there is no doubt that this country can return to a positive growth path. In his New Year address, His Excellency the president emphasised the need for business to get out of their comfort zones and persevere through the challenging times while imploring government to consult all stakeholders, including the business community across the country, in order to chart a better path towards recovery as a collective, and through these engagements identify effective solutions to implementing projects and programmes which can bring about the much needed solutions for all Namibians.
Honourable Lucia Iipumbu (MP)
This should be an ongoing process, because as we address existing issues, new problems may arise. The Year of Resilience as declared by the Head of State must therefore be defined by a collective approach to nation building and the challenges we face. Therefore government needs to ensure that all channels of communication between government and the people be enhanced so that every citizen can participate in shaping the policies’ agenda.The Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade remains committed to achieving its mandate of spearheading Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) development, develop and manage Namibia’s economic regulatory framework, promote economic growth and development through the formulation and implementation of appropriate policies with the view to attract investment, increase trade, and develop and expand the country’s industrial base. All these undertakings cannot happen in a vacuum; it is through consultative meeting that the ministry can attain its mandate. Foreign Direct Investments remain a key source of private external finance for many developing countries, including Namibia. It has the potential to bring about the much- needed economic stimulation, development of human capital, increase in employment, and access to management expertise, skills, and technology.
At a time of persistent crises and pressing social and environmental challenges, harnessing economic growth for sustainable and inclusive development is more important than ever. Investment is a primary driver of such growth. Mobilising investment and ensuring that it contributes to sustainable development objectives are therefore a priority for all countries and for developing countries in particular. Against this background, a new generation of investment policies is emerging, pursuing a broader and more intricate development policy agenda, while building or maintaining a generally favourable investment. Investment policies place inclusive growth and sustainable development at the heart of efforts to attract and benefit from investment.
The ministry is further committed to developing a competitive industrial sector in the country by having policies and strategies in place pertaining to industrial development to encourage the supply-chain capacity of local industries ensuring an increased contribution of the manufacturing sector to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The ministry will also continue to develop industrial infrastructure by ensuring the availability of appropriate industrial premises and related infrastructure to make it easy for economic agents to create and operate industries, especially for MSMEs.
Lucia Iipumbu (MP)
Minister Of Industrialisation and Trade