Namibia: Informal Sector Boosts Growth

The trade ministry is working on a policy to develop the informal sector and transform it to contribute more to the mainstream economy. Through this, it is hoped that the informal sector can boost economic growth that has been double decimated by both a recession and a pandemic.

Trade minister Lucia Iipumbu on Friday said her ministry is set to implement policies and programmes to enhance business growth, including a National Informal Economy and Entrepreneurship Development Policy, that is currently in the pipeline.

"The policy's objective is to develop the informal economy and its participants into the commercially viable and mainstream economy sector, which could contribute to the economic growth of our country and its inhabitant in a sustainable manner," said Iipumbu at the inauguration of the Omaheke Innovation Village, also known as 'O-Space'.

Iipumbu noted that the policy would address challenges faced by the informal economy such as infrastructure, entrepreneurial development, and institutional support.

The policy is also to be developed into a national business promotion act to integrate it into the Namibia Investment Promotion Act. This will be done to emphasise sector reservation and ensure the attraction of foreign investment.

The trade ministry, where funds permit, continues to assist the small businesses in the informal sector with production technology such as equipment and machinery to improve their productivity and competitiveness.

Said Iipumbu: "As a nation, we do not have a choice but to industrialise and to continue devising strategies to defend and sustain local and upcoming enterprises, which is to grow at home."

She continued that for private sector growth to bring about high and sustainable national economic growth and development, it is critical that such growth enhances local beneficiation. This should include employment creation and market linkages and promote economic resilience, and diversification through innovation and industrial development, while promoting market access for locally produced products.

Iipumbu stated that her ministry has programmes in place to assist small businesses withstand the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic. She expanded that the aim is, through Start-up Namibia, to have national hubs with regional outreach to create at least 150 sustainable startups by December 2023.

Omaheke Innovation Village

Meanwhile, the Omaheke Innovation Village, inaugurated by Iipumbu on Friday, is an effort to add value to socio-economic development while promoting business entrepreneurship and innovation in the region.

The O-Space seeks to nurture entrepreneurship and accelerate business growth through supporting established business start-ups while integrating small businesses, youth and creative industries in the region.

Iipumbu described the O-Space as a pragmatic creativity that is a powerful tool "to ignite innovative potential to the unemployment among especially women and youth by getting them involved in growing the economy of the country".

"We have no doubt that the O-Space initiative will come onboard in offering practical solutions to aspiring business owners and equally providing a much-needed support of a conducive platform to increase productive business in our economy."

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