REGARDLESS of the global financial turmoil caused by national debts, and further fears of negative growth of countries’ GDP’s due to a ‘double-dip’ recession’ that negatively effects the morale of world citizens, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Tjekero Tweya praised Arandis’ leaders for boldly striving to secure the prosperity of is inhabitants.
“In the midst of all this, Arandis still aims to be economically sustainable and independent,” he lauded at the opening of the town’s first Investment Conference last Friday. According to him, Arandis is the “next most natural point for economic growth” in Erongo as “space for development is running out at the coast”.
“With the right policies and partnerships in place, there is sure to be phenomenal growth in Arandis,” he said. ccording to Erongo governor Cleophas Mutjavikua, the fact that the town’s council, with the assistance of the public and private sectors, had the initiative to host an investment conference, said much about the town-leadership’s pro-active stance toward local development. “With a leadership that is serious about business, and the town’s strategic location, Arandis is a natural choice for serious investors,” he said.
The town was established in 1978 as a ‘home’-town for the workers of Rössing Uranium, and in 1994 is was proclaimed as a town. “Arandis has always been known as a mining-town, but we want it to become independent and self-sustaining,” said Director of the Rössing Foundation, Job Tjiho.
And that’s exactly what the two day conference was all about: to market Arandis as the best choice for investment in the region. According to the town’s CEO, Florida Husselmann, there is enough land available for residential, and small and large industrial development. In fact, as part of the town’s land delivery initiative, 1 402 erven were allocated for development, of which 116 is set aside for industrial development and 996 for residential. With this allocation, Arandis is set to double in volume.
“We take development seriously here,” she told about 150 participants, which included existing and prospective investors. Besides the town’s pro-active stance, other advantages is that Arandis has an airport nearby, and is outside the fog-belt, limiting corrosion. It is also about 30km away from several mining operations and developments around the town. It has a railway line, and it situated next to the TransKalahari Highway, linking the capital and neighboring countries to the port of Walvis Bay, which is also aggressively being marketed as the region’s “port of choice”.
Some of the major investments that have come on board, or will soon see the light, include Areva’s railway-siding and access road linking its Trekkopye Mine and Arandis. One of Namibia’s major trucking companies, Wesbank Transport also intends to set up a branch there, while the town already boasts with a major clothing and a uranium drum manufacturer. A shopping complex and a manufacturer of material for low-cost housing is also in the pipeline. Besides that, Puma Energy recently opened its service station, while three energy plants (including NamPower’s coal-fire power station and a 10 MW solar plant) will also be erected at there.
“Arandis offers opportunities for light and heavy industrial development and manufacturing. We are also striving to become a centre of education excellence; while there is room for niche-style tourism initiatives like mining tourism,” said Husselmann.
According to her, all initiatives will contribute to the town’s economic sustainability.
“We’re not just looking at Arandis in the next five years but in the next 20 years and beyonds,” she said.
[By: Adam Hartman. SOURCE: the Namibian]