Namibia: Economic Growth Summit to Embark On International Roadshow

5 August 2019

Windhoek — Organisers of the just-ended Economic Growth Summit will soon embark on an investment roadshow to mobilise more resources in addition to the N$50 billion in investments committed at the Summit. Already, N$20 billion worth of investments were validated last week.

According to Johannes !Gawagab, Chairperson of the President's High-Level Panel on the Economy, the roadshow, which is scheduled for September, will take place in the United States, Germany and Singapore.

Speaking at the closing briefing of the Summit, !Gawagab revealed that the Summit was 100 percent funded by the private sector, which raised just over N$4 million for the event. Summit organisers stated that N$3.5 million was budgeted for the event with final event figures remaining well within the budget. According to !Gaxwagab, the remaining funds collected will be used to pay for the roadshow.

Summit organisers last week said about 880 people attended the Summit, about 180 of them local participants and more than 100 international business leaders. Participants also included trade unions, employers' representatives and about 50 national organisations. In addition, each of the country's 14 regions included at least five business people from each region.

And, while !Gawagab and his team were ecstatic about the N$20 billion in validated investment commitments, this figure has been criticised for being dominated by Namibian and South African public institutions as well as for the less than expected N$4 billion committed by the private sector.

During the first day of the Summit, President Hage Geingob stated: "I reiterate once again that in order to revive our economy in a sustainable manner, we all have to play our part - the public sector including public enterprises, private sector, civil society, trade unions and development partners. The private sector, as the engine for economic growth, should therefore subscribe to our common agenda for inclusive growth and shared prosperity. As government, we are prepared to play our part and meet all stakeholders halfway.

This is why we undertook a policy of fiscal consolidation, the deepest since independence, for the purpose of preserving macroeconomic stability through the reduction of non-essential public expenditure. We are however aware that fiscal consolidation alone will not lead to sustained economic growth, job creation and poverty eradication".

Some economic analysts have however placed more value on some of the key policy interventions announced by Geingob at the Summit, saying this will boost business confidence which will eventually enable the country to attract more investors. These policy decisions include: the removal of the compulsory 25 percent stake in the National Equitable Economic Empowerment Bill; a clear definition of Previously Disadvantaged Persons in NEEEB, the equity threshold in NEEEB to be determined by sector charters; the NEEEB to be tabled in Parliament within six months, the Namibia Investment Promotion Act (NIPA) to be operational by the end of the current financial year, the Public Procurement Act review and amendment process to commence during this financial year; and the exception of Visa requirements for diplomatic and official passport holders from 53 African countries.

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