Namibian economics to the point – July 2018 - News - Gondwana Collection


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Namibian economics to the point – July 2018

Avatar of inke inke - 31. juillet 2018 - Economics

Brigitte Weidlich

Icy chilly winter weather prevailed in the interior for most of July, while the coast had warm East-wind weather with periodic sandstorms. President Hage Geingob signed the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement in Mauretania during a summit of the African Union this month. Geingob also attended the BRICS summit in South Africa. The public enterprise Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) announced that it now accepts cashless payments for bookings, like for the famous Etosha National Park and other resorts. 

Inflation for June moved upwards from 3.8 to 4.0 percent, the National Statistics Agency announced. Petrol and diesel prices increased in July. Government officially announced that the second national land conference will take place from 1 to 5 October.

BRICS summit pushes industrialisation

The presidents of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) gathered in Johannesburg for the tenth annual BRICS summit from 25 to 27 July. Turkey’s President Recep Tayep Erdogan also jetted in for the big event which attracted international attention. The BRICS summit ended off on the third day with a BRICS-Africa outreach dialogue, attended by several African heads of state, including Namibia’s President Geingob. He attended a dinner the night before with several hundred business people and investors under the BRICS umbrella. The outreach dialogue took place under the theme Working towards the realisation of African aspirations. In his speech during the dialogue, President Geingob said the invitation to the outreach offered “Africa the opportunity to contribute to the decision-making process and reap the benefits from the BRICS cooperation.” He hoped that the 2014 established New Development Bank, also known as BRICS Bank, would “provide affordable financing with fewer conditions; which would go a long way in assisting Africa to accomplish its industrialisation and economic development goals”.

Land question receives more attention

At the start of July, the Office of the Prime Minister officially announced that the long awaited second national land conference will take place in Windhoek from 1 to 5 October. In order to receive input from the public, consultations were held in all 14 regions in mid-July. Each region will prepare a report on the opinions and recommendations made during these consultations. The reports will be presented at the national conference in October.

In the meantime, a court challenge by some commercial farmers about the constitutionality of the land tax has failed. The company Kambazembi Guest Farm wanted the land tax declared unconstitutional. The court challenged dates back to 2013 with six separate claims, which were later on combined into one. The Supreme Court dismissed the application. It found that the Parliament rightfully delegated the Ministry of Land Reform to introduce and collect land tax.

Investments in tourism continue

The John & Penny Group opened the Endjala Lodge & Traditional House outside Ondangwa in July. The company is owned by the black economic empowerment (BEE) businessman John Endjala and his wife Penny. The company also opened the small Shikamasha Lodge near the eastern entry gate to the Etosha National Park. The Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta officiated the opening of both lodges. J&P also owns the Toko Lodge near Kamanjab. 

Gondwana Collection gets new partner

The company Gondwana Holdings Ltd and Nam-mic Financial Services Holdings (Pty) Ltd have signed a subscription agreement on 3 July 2018, after one year of negotiations. The deal was made possible by the Gondwana Group’s transformation into a holding company in November 2017. Nam-mic Financial Services Holdings bought ten percent of Gondwana shares. The invested capital flows directly into the expansion of the tourism group. 

In another exciting development, Gondwana Collection Namibia signed a joint venture agreement with the King Nehale Conservancy in north-central Namibia. The agreement entails the construction of a brand new Gondwana lodge within that communal conservancy, which covers areas just outside the northern gate of the Park. The new lodge with 40 rooms will be located 5km outside the King Nehale Gate, as this entry and exit point to Namibia’s world famous park is called. Tourists can enjoy the wildlife in the Park and in the conservancy as well as the rich and vibrant culture of Oshiwambo-speaking communities in the area. The next bigger town is Omuthiya, the regional capital of the Oshana Region. 

Gondwana is currently completing the construction of The Desert Grace lodge deep in the Namib Desert in southern Namibia. It will open on 1 November.

BEE Group to take over Safari Hotel

The well-known Safari Hotel and Conference Centre in Windhoek next the Eros Airport will be taken over by the local black economic empowerment company (BEE) United Africa Group. Namibia’s Competition Commission granted an application in July submitted by United Africa at the end of 2017. There are several conditions attached to the takeover: no retrenchments may take place and the management of the Safari hotel complex must be outsourced to a yet to be appointed company for ten years. 

NWR accepts electronic payments

Tourists now have easier payment options at government resorts. The public enterprise Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) announced in early July that it now accepts cashless payments for bookings like for the famous Etosha National Park and other resorts. Electronic payments are also possible at all government tourism resorts that are managed by NWR. This brings a big relief to visitors and allows spontaneous longer stays – if availability allows – should visitors desire to perhaps stay an additional night or two at a particular resort.  

Get ,framed’ at Swakopmund

The tourism department of the Swakopmund municipality has set up a huge picture frame at the town’s entrance so that tourists can take selfie-photos to show the world they indeed visited the attractive seaside town. Emulating the example of Cape Town, where the selfie frames became an instant hit, Swakopmund hopes the new attraction will become equally popular. It is the first selfie-frame in Namibia!

Meanwhile Swakopmund will soon get a ‘township’ hotel, which will be a first in Namibia. Local BEE tourism operator Heinrich Hafeni, has successfully applied to the municipality to buy a big piece of land in Mondesa, a black township in Swakopmund. Hafeni wants to build a small hotel there so that tourists can also experience the other side of Swakopmund: township life with township music, shebeens, closely-knit neighbourhoods and indigenous meals. 

Local bags for Otavi’s Ohorongo cement plant

The local company Ohorongo Cement has signed an agreement with the BEE company Kaptau that produces paper bags for the cement factory. Kaptau is based in Ondangwa and belongs to the local BEE entrepreneur and unionist David Namalenga. The company will produce the tough 50kg paper bags for the cement and deliver them with the Ohorongo logo printed on them. Until recently, Ohorongo had to import the bags. Ohorongo’s Managing Director Hans-Wilhelm Schütte said this was another step to localise manufacturing. Ohorongo Cement belongs to Germany’s Schwenk Group.

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