14 March 2021

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted world economies and has exposed the vulnerabilities of most economies. A recovery plan to bring back economic growth and embrace the new normal must be a collective priority for all countries, Namibia included. Workable ways and means to revive economies, to create necessary jobs and to embrace the new normal, have to be found and implemented.

Subsequently, in line with the Namibian Policy on International Relations and Cooperation and our resolve to pursue Economic Diplomacy, I led a Namibian delegation to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to seek investments opportunities in the sectors ranging from agriculture, water, renewable energy, mining, health and tourism, among others.

The delegation comprised of Honourable Calle Schlettwein, Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, Honourable Tom Alweendo, Minister of Mines and Energy, Honourable Obeth Kandjoze, Director-General of the National Planning
Commission, Honourable Veikko Nekundi, Deputy Minister of Works and Transport, Mrs. Nangula Uaandja, Chief Executive Office of the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board as well as Mr. James Mnyupe, Economic Adviser to the President.

The visit to the UAE is expected to bear tangible benefits to the Namibian economy and her people. This is mostly because the targeted investment projects are in sectors that will contribute to sustainable and inclusive economic growth and create jobs that will contribute to poverty eradication as elaborated and espoused in the Second Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP2).

In the United Arab Emirates the delegation had engagements with stakeholders and entities such as the Emirates Group, DP World, the International Holdings Company, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, the UAE Tourism Department and the Dubai EXPO 2020 team, all of whom expressed interest in investing in the Namibian economy.

Energy, logistics, agriculture, tourism and infrastructure development were identified as strategic areas of priority and interest by potential investors from the UAE. What is expected now is for the Namibian technical team to prioritize and prepare key bankable projects and opportunities to facilitate concrete investment deliberations to be concluded in a timely manner.

It should be noted that the investment promotion visit was a follow up to an invitation by His Royal Highness Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum, who had expressed interest in greater collaboration, aimed at strengthening and diversifying existing economic ties between the UAE and Namibia. His Highness visited Namibia from 13 to 14 December 2020, during which he met various line Ministers and His Excellency President Dr. Hage Geingob.