The UK is open for business and is very interested in doing business in Namibia, thus the keen interest to explore the local business environment with the hopes of doing more business in-country. The British High Commission (BHC) in Windhoek and the Department for International Trade (DIT) hosted a group of UK companies from both the UK and those with offices in SA for a successful one-day Trade Mission to Namibia on Thursday, 10 November 2016.
The group consisted of 6 main UK companies, both new to the region and those with business links in Namibia: Mott MacDonald, Mace Group, and Turner and Townsend have experience working in Namibia on major infrastructure projects. Gardline Geosurvey Limited, Nectar Group Limited and UK Export Finance (UKEF) are new to the market show a great interest in solidifying their presence in the market as they see great potential for business within Namibia. The main aims for the Trade Mission included the facilitation of meeting platforms for Namibian and British government officials to discuss current and future business potential, networking with Namibian captains of industry for business projects within the major infrastructure development sector.
The UK companies provided a range of expertise including successfully tested knowledge of the transport and logistics, in rail/road/airport developments, construction, and financial and professional services with project financing, programme design and project management skilling. There is the additional focus in more specialised areas of renewable energy, water management and desalination.
Leading the group was British High Commissioner to Namibia, H.E. Ms Jo Lomas, who emphasised:
“The priorities of the British High Commission are to support Namibia’s economic growth and to support British business. The visit of the UK trade delegation in the margins of the Invest in Namibia Conference provides an excellent opportunity for British companies and investors to explore opportunities in Namibia for mutual benefit. British companies offer a wide range of expertise but have particular strengths in project management and design, specialised engineering services, high quality product output, a proven track record of best practices to learn from – all of relevance to Namibia’s growing infrastructure and development plans”.
Lomas added that UK Export Finance, part of the delegation, were also very keen to be a part of the delegation as they have a healthy interest to increase their footprint in Africa. UK Export Finance are the UK’s export credit agency, providing trade finance and insurance to support UK exports. They share financial risks by providing risk protection to exporters with specified insurance, work across all sectors, for all sizes of export contracts, support and provide loans to overseas buyers, and provide very agreeable terms and conditions for loan repayments. UKEF have a healthy appetite for the Namibian market and are looking at a few projects within the infrastructure sector – focused around ports and rail developments. They were represented by Sam Hoexter, the Regional Head for sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and India.
The first meeting was a breakfast session facilitated by the High Commissioner. The group met with Ministry of Public Enterprises’s Minister, Hon. Leon Jooste, who led an executive team from the Ministry. He spoke on his plans for the Ministry and local parastatals, drawing in knowledge of the British government’s successful privatisation of many of its own parastatals that have today become successful commercial business. The team meet with the Minister of Finance, Hon. Calle Schlettwein, and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Works and Transport, Willem Goeiemann, who provided direct insights into the Namibian government’s planned projects for the airports, ports, rail and road network around Namibia. The delegates met with the Walvis Bay Corridor Group and Namport who expounded on their projects and project planning rail and roads sectors noting the much needed development to the railway network, as well as plans for road developments. The delegation also met with Foibe Namene from the Electricity Control Board on power generation and national planning regarding the renewable energy sector, and Pieter de Wet from the Namibia Development Corporation.
The Trade Mission was rounded-off with a networking session where the delegates were able to interact with members of key business organisations from the Chamber of Mines, the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, RMB/FNB Namibia, as well as members of the locally situated British Business Group (BBG). Additionally, members of the local Economic and Commercial Counsellor’s Office of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Namibia where invited to network with both UK and Namibian delegates.Distributed by APO on behalf of British High Commission Windhoek.