Local is lekker: Encourage local investors than dependent on foreign investors
• by Josef Kefas Sheehama
Economic processes impact the lives and livelihoods of people who frequently have little or no voice. We must support, economic development and social justice by encouraging economic transformation that increases material opportunity in ways that promote open and prosperous Namibians.
An enriched society is one where locals are able to prosper. Atterbury Property Holdings, owned by the JSE-listed Atterbury Group is planning to sell the Grove Mall of Namibia to Zimbabwean investors. The Zimbabwean investors, mainly pension funds, are working on plans to take over a N$1.8bn property. The mall is the largest commercial property investment ever made in the country. The mall that has benefited from GIPF’s unlisted investments. The Grove Mall of Namibia offers a wide range of 126 shops and creative setting of 55 000m². The mall has an annual turnover of about N$ 890 000 000.
My honest opinion is to give the youth an opportunity through Initial Public Offering (IPO). In our rapidly changing world of work, no one knows for certain which jobs will become obsolete or emerge. What is clear though, is the world’s young people are eager to secure livelihoods that will help them create the futures they want. If MTC has raised N$2.541 billion from its Initial Public Offering (IPO) at a share price of N$8.50 per share, I am convinced that we can apply the same methodology to raise capital locally to acquire the Grove Mall to guarantee the future of our youth. For argument’s sake, let say we listing the Grove Mall on NSX to raise capital at a subscription price of N$ 6.50 per share with the intent to raise N$ 1.80bn to members of the general public. With 276 million shares on offer to the public at minimum of 250 shares need to be applied for the Grove Mall shares, hence a minimum amount of N$ 1 625 per application. This is also a great chance to gain valuable experience and encourage young people to become entrepreneurs. Looking at the large numbers of unemployed graduates, the idea that education opens doors to employment and success does not hold water. The number of unemployed youths is high irrespective of education levels. Many young people have lost hope of finding a job that matches their skills or in the area they reside. Therefore, the Grove Mall should sell to the local investors. A qualified and Accredited Asset Manager must be appointed.
Furthermore, encourage local investors to strengthen the economy. It will mobilize revenues to ensure that there is state and public ownership of great chunks of the economy that is presently being handed over to foreigners. It will end the heavy, unstable and perilous dependence on foreign funds, franchises and investment. To understand the importance of youth in society, it is crucial to look at the various roles they play. We cannot speak industrialization if youth are not forming part of the discussion. The youth is the heartbeat of a nation. In contrast to the old society where the elders used to make all the important decisions concerning day to day life, in modern society, the youth play an active role in this process. The youth actively participate and partially drive political, social and economic development. The technological advancements which have seen the world turn into a local village, in the sense that people can communicate with each other instantly, regardless of the points of the world they are. It is, therefore, true to say that in modern society, the youth represent the change required for a better future, and socioeconomic development is at the center of these changes.
Moreover, Namibia should internalize the positive experiences of the best industrialized countries in the world, and itself become an industrialized nation by the year 2030. Youth Entrepreneurship Policy is a must for Namibia. This shows deliberate effort from governments to drive entrepreneurship and to assist future job creators at the very outset of their initiatives. The DBN and Agribank launched the youth loan initiatives, with relaxed conditions to encourage participation and enhanced financial inclusion. The contrary is true that, the direct executors of violence and insecurity are usually the youth. This is usually contributed to a great extent by the high rate of unemployment among the youth. This usually gives them a sense of hopelessness, and when approached by the people who want them to do the dirty work for them, the first thought which usually comes to their minds is that this is an opportunity to make money. The perception that they have nothing to lose. Such scenarios lead to a significant number of youths getting involved in illegal businesses such as drug trafficking and robbery which most of the time involve violence. Some people are also recruited into gangs, and the result of this is the deterioration of security in Namibia. This derails development by first of all hindering effective education, as the young ones grow into youth hood believing that one doesn’t need education to be successful, which is a very misleading notion.
To that end, with the spirit of Ubuntu within us (Africans), it is imperative that we help young to achieve their best for our future. Also, let’s offer the sale to capable local investors first before it’s offered to our Zimbabwean investors. If we follow these steps we will create a peaceful environment and successful transition, because the Grove Mall was built with a portion of GIPF unlisted Investments.
Therefore, young people are hungry for better options. They are rejecting the status quo and demanding a better future. Many of them are claiming their right to a decent living, and they are willing to take risks to do so. If more young people grow into well-educated adults with fewer dependents and new opportunities to acquire wealth, savings and purchasing power, they will be able to accelerate economic growth and development.