Business trailblazers honoured by AEBA

By Confidente Reporter

BUSINESSMAN, founder and executive chairman of Shipanga Holdings, Martin Kaali Shipanga was recently awarded the Business Developer accolade at the 11th edition of the Africa Economy Builders Awards that took place in Abijan, Ivory Coast.

Namibian businesswoman Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun also received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the same event.

The Africa Economy Builders Awards is the largest platform in Africa where male and female business leaders on the continent contributing to building economies are both acknowledged and celebrated.

In an interview with Confidente following his achievement, Shipanga expressed gratitude saying that the award proves that Namibia is able to produce talent that can also be recognised both locally and internationally.

“For Namibia, being a Namibian this award means a lot because it recognises that our country can also produce talent that has the potential to not only contribute at home but to also cross borders by engaging with other business people on the continent. This award is a reflection of one to remain focused and to never give up on our desires and to succeed in business and to continue working hard,” he said.

Besides being reminded to keep the focus through this award, Shipanga said, the accolade also connects local business owners to the rest of the continent.

Shipanga went on to say that the award comes at a time when a free trade agreement was signed recently which will allow various countries on the continent to trade with one another.

“This award connects us with our peers in the business space to exchange knowledge, skills, opportunities and challenges. I believe it opens the door for many Namibian businesses to collaborate with other fellow business people on the continent,” he said.

On what the award means to him, Shipanga said he is pleased with the recognition as he comes from a humble background.

“Coming from a very humble background and from an oppressive system of apartheid where opportunities were not equal, the playing field was not equal; I am humbled by this award. And being able to feel experienced and appreciated for the work that we did with many men and women that have joined the organisations and helped shape them from scratch demonstrated through this means a lot,” he said.

He added that the award further recognises his talent and capabilities to initiate and develop businesses.

“All the businesses that I own or started I started them from scratch and it has not been easy and still not easy, however, this award therefore recognises not only those capabilities and the initiatives but possibly also the impact those businesses have had on the continent,” he stated.

On what other business people can learn from his achievement, he answered that it is best to maintain the values of integrity, respect for all, being humble and absolute hard work in whatever they do.

He however further urged aspiring or well established business people to find opportunities during Covid-19 saying that where there are tremendous challenges, there are also equally remarkable opportunities.

“The only challenge with the Namibian market and economic landscape is that the playing field is not level and that is one thing our government can assist us with because once it gets levelled it becomes much easier for local people to initiate and invest in businesses that not only contribute towards local development but also continental,” he explained.

According to Shipanga, businesses alone cannot achieve much but a smart partnership between trades and government can build the economy.

“It needs to start with communication between businesses and government on how to move the economy forward because if we look at the population of our country, natural resources and the location of our country we really have no excuse on why we should not trigger our economy in order to create the much needed prosperity that we preach,” he concluded.