Namibia: 240 Start-Ups Receive Govt Funding

1 December 2020

To help ensure a lifeline to up and coming businesses, the industrialisation ministry initiated the Covid-19 start-up grants during phase one of the lockdown period resulting in 240 businesses benefiting from a total of 874 that applied.

The successful businesses received N$15 000 each.

About 42% of the applicants were female-owned start-up companies.

The second batch of Covid-19 grants is still ongoing, which will finance around 500 start-ups.

Industrialisation minister Lucia Iipumbu last week at the annual general meeting (AGM) of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) said a final key intervention is ensuring appropriate trading platforms for informal economic agents.

Iipumbu said this has been a pressing reality, given that informal economic traders operate in public spaces with minimal supportive infrastructure to ensure public health and a conducive environment to conduct their livelihoods.

The ministry is, therefore, exploring options to primarily identify alternative trading platforms for informal economic agents. This will be done in collaboration with other stakeholders by identifying requisite sites across Namibia that are conducive for trading.

This work will be a key foundation for the ministry towards the unveiling - for the first time, a National Policy on the Informal Economy Sector.

The new investment law that the ministry is in the process of drafting once finalised will address investor performance requirements, restrict economic subsectors to foreign investors, make investor registration compulsory and introduce a crucial aspect of investor tracking and management, as well as clear guidelines for investor dispute procedures.

Meanwhile, she said the Growth at Home Strategy is comprehensive and has flagged sectors that can be prioritised. The agro-processing component of the growth at home strategy is a key priority.

"Lessons from the pandemic are that there is a need to magnify and upscale the local food production capacity - and this is one key element that the ministry will explore together with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water, and Land Reform," said Iipumbu.

Also, at the opportunities to reset from the pandemic, it did not only present disruptions to economic activities but also created opportunities for Namibia to do things better.

"Information technology (IT) infrastructure, domestic tourism, clean energy, agro-processing and infrastructure. Namibia experienced a surge in the use of IT services following the outbreak; we can invest more in IT infrastructure and increase efficiency," said Bank of Namibia governor Johannes !Gawaxab at the NCCI AGM.

!Gawaxab further stated that Namibia needs to add value to what it has by investing more in Agro-processing. Once investments in utilities are sought, agricultural production can be increased and so can the processing of agricultural products - agricultural production can be increased, as well as the processing of agricultural products.

According to him, with inflation and interest rates at their lowest levels in more than 40 years, now is a good time for Namibia to invest in infrastructure to drive recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

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