Financial institutions should be innovative and creative in providing funding solutions to struggling towns in rural areas, the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Tjekero Tweya, said when he opened the Arandis Investment Conference and Mineral, Mining and Energy Expo last week.
“Namibian entrepreneurs and businesses also should add value and not resign themselves to simply selling what foreign countries are producing,” said Tweya, telling businesspersons present that the ministry has several programmes aimed at strengthening technical and managerial skills in the small and medium size enterprise (SME) sector.
Arandis Chief Executive Officer, Florida Husselmann, said she was “absolutely pleased” with the way the event turned out and the conference “was everything we envisioned it to be and we were very happy in particular with the support from the Ministry of Trade and Industry”. Over 120 investors from all over Namibia flocked to the conference in the desert town.
In addition, 60 companies, including 30 SMEs, exhibited at the Mineral, Mining and Energy Expo that was held concurrently with the conference. “We have had many inquiries from businesses interested in relocating their operations to Arandis,” said Husselmann, highlighting the favourable conditions the town offers investors, such as affordable land, safety and proximity to mines and the port of Walvis Bay. Interest in property development in Arandis is also at an all-time high, with several developments such as residential areas, a shopping mall, a healthcare centre and a hotel in progress.
Started as a dormitory settlement for the nearby Rössing uranium mine, Arandis has grown substantially over the past few years focussing on industrialisation and developing its status as an education and tourism hub.
“The feedback from conference participants is that Arandis is moving in the right direction and that shows that our turnaround strategy works,” said Husselmann. “The investment conference is now regarded as a best practice for smaller communities, while the expo shows visitors the amazing potential on offer in the region.”