04 Sep 2013 05:20
KEETMANSHOOP, 04 SEP (NAMPA) Trade and Industry Minister Calle Schlettwein on Tuesday highlighted the development projects his ministry plans to start, and those already implemented in the //Karas Region.
Officiating at the opening of the 58th annual Keetmanshoop Agricultural and Industrial Show here, the minister said government plans to start a meat-processing plant and a feeding lot at Karasburg, situated some 330 kilometres south of Keetmanshoop.
Other development projects include a multi-purpose convention centre and a Swakara wool-processing and packaging hub in Keetmanshoop; an irrigation project at the Bethanie village; the construction of a medium-sized garment factory, as well as a factory which will produce furniture from the wood of the Prosopis plant in Keetmanshoop.
These projects are expected to emerge next year as the ministry is currently researching and consulting the local leadership and communities on various ideas before implementation.
Schlettwein also listed business facilities already set up by the ministry in this region, such as an industrial park in the Kronlein residential area, the Keetmanshoop town centre market, a Business Park for small businesses in Lüderitz, the community market nearing completion in the Tseiblaagte township here, and another one under construction in Karasburg.
Small and medium-sized entrepreneurs in this region - like other parts of the country - will continue to benefit from support services provided by Government and its agencies such as the Namibia Development Corporation (NDC).
These include the provision of production equipment, sponsorships for them to take part and benefit from trade fairs, as well as mentorship programmes, the minister enthused.
Schlettwein further stated that trade fairs, exhibitions or shows such as this one in Keetmanshoop are important platforms for conducting business on a national and international scale, and are globally recognised as reliable mediums to exchange business information.
Events like these also help showcase investment and business opportunities in the towns, regions and the country at large, he added.
As a Government, and in line with our Growth at Home approach, it is our desire to see increased value-addition to the minerals and other natural resources found in this region to the optimum benefit of the //Karas people and the entire Namibia. This can be done through arrangements such as joint ventures, partnerships and employment, the Trade Minister added.
It is thus important for Namibia to note that the reliance on the primary sector and the exports of raw materials does not only make the country vulnerable to external shocks, but creates jobs and wealth in the economies to which these raw materials are exported.
We cannot expect to achieve the required levels of sustained economic growth and employment, and bring about prosperity for our people by continuing business-as-usual, that is, remaining an exporter and importer of consumer goods.
We need a paradigm shift and transformation from being an economy that largely produces what it does not consume, and consumes what it does not produce, he advised participants.
The Keetmanshoop Show is being characterised by activities such as a horse-racing competition, musical performances, live animal auctions, a beauty pageant as well as soccer and rugby tournaments, amongst a host of other exciting activities.
A total of 150 exhibitors from across the country and neighbouring South Africa are participating in the four-day show, which will end on Saturday.