A 16-member delegation of Namibian business people is in the country to explore ways of tapping into the available business opportunities. The delegation comprises of representatives from most sectors of the economy including construction, mining, agriculture, transport, manufacturing, tourism, clothing and textile, bakeries, cosmetics and information technology.
Speaking at the Zimbabwe-Namibia business forum held in Harare yesterday, Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Mr Tarah Shaanika said the global economic environment required nations to venture into bilateral partnerships that boost trade.
"Trade within Sadc has been limited and business to business relationships can be used to boost trade. From the Foreign Direct Investments that come into Africa, not much comes from one Sadc country to another. Africa should start investing in itself," he said.
He said although Namibia was a big consumer of Zimbabwean products, these were getting to Namibia through a third party. He said the delegation wanted to establish direct trade between the two countries hence the holding of the business forum.
Mr Shaanika also said countries in the Sadc region should build infrastructure that could make trading easy. "More work needs to be done towards creating infrastructure to make trading between African countries more viable and sustainable. Inter-regional and inter- continental trade should be made sustainable," he said. He added that the was interested in agriculture and creating agro-processing joint ventures with local companies, stressing Zimbabwean companies had more experience in agro-processing which the Namibian companies were eager to tap into.
"We are also interested in mining and beneficiation initiatives like diamond cutting and polishing. Namibia has more than 15 years experience in cutting and polishing diamonds and we want to see if we can do value addition on both Zimbabwean and Namibian diamonds to avoid exporting raw diamonds," he said.
The delegation will visit Lake Harvest Aquaculture project on Lake Kariba, the largest sustainable Tilapia fish farming venture in Africa.
Some Namibian companies with experience in fish processing, were keen on working with Zimbabweans who were into fish farming.
Speaking at the same event, Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha said Zimbabwe should engage its regional counterparts in developing local industry.
"Lack of long term finance and technology has affected the local industry for the past 10 years and Zimbabwe needs to partner its regional counterparts towards industry development," he said.
Value addition was the cornerstone of development of the industry and Zimbabwe and Namibia could benefit from each other. Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Christopher Mutsvangwa also said Sadc countries should integrate and create their own internal markets.
"The Sadc region has 200 million people, therefore it has the capacity to create its own internal market with products that can also compete on the international markets. We need to be global players and find products made in Sadc on shelves in countries all over the world," he said.