NCCI launches revamped SWAiTEX

By Confidente Reporter

THE Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) this week officially launched its Annual Swakopmund International Trade Expo (SWAiTEX) taking place from the 9th-12th October 2019 at the Dome in Swakopmund.

Now in its 7th year, the Expo has been revamped and will this year run under the theme “Promoting Intra-Regional Trade and Economic Integration.”

“This year makes a very crucial milestone for us as an organization. As you may recall, the Expo was birthed in 2013 under the leadership of our former NCCI Swakopmund Branch Chairperson Heinrich Hafeni, emanating from our deep desire to provide growth opportunities for businesses and community members. From our first mini-Expo that took place in a small tent in the Swakopmund Municipality parking lot, to a branded and recognized Expo that holds a premier place in our Erongo region and for that matter, our Country’s events calendar.

“NCCI has therefore, taken a strategic redirection in the organization, planning and execution of SWAiTEX. As such, NCCI further announces that SWAiTEX is now a national and international event as per the strategic planning retreat held by its Secretariat earlier in the year. This is due to the fact that we have managed to engage many of our National corporate members who have generously come on board either as sponsors or resource experts to add more value to the vision of making SWAiTEX the NCCI’s premier international platform for business connection and growth opportunities. This only makes it mandatory for this to be a National event benefiting the membership of NCCI, and by extension, the broader business community and our stakeholders in Namibia as well as our international partnerships,” said Charity Mwiya, NCCI Chief Executive Officer at the launch.

Mwiya also highlighted that in the aftermath of the recent Economic Growth Summit, themed: Economic Revival for Inclusive Growth-Strengthening the Namibian House, the NCCI, as an organisation that represents the interests of the Namibian business community, felt responsible to ensure that the outcomes identified during the summit do not fade into obscurity and become forgotten.

“Over the years, the EXPO has enjoyed the unwavering support of the corporate and business community through strategic sponsorships and partnerships. This year’s line-up of sponsors is just as impressive and signifies a willingness and resilience to collaborate and support an event that drives a national agenda. We are proud to announce, that joining our most enduring sponsors and partners such as Erongo Red, Standard Bank Namibia, First National Bank Namibia, Newport, Municipality of Swakopmund, will be Olthaver and List Group, Development Bank of Namibia, Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC), NAMCOR, the British High Commission, USAID and Space Dimensions, among others.

“We would like to express our earnest gratitude to these sponsors and we hope that their investment and involvement in such a worthy cause, inspires more organisations to become involved,” added Mwiya.

As has been the case in previous years, SWAITEX has drawn interest from exhibitors across the country in various sectors such as housing, construction, retail, tourism, mining and renewable energy, agriculture, fishing, services related-industries, logistics & transport sectors. Exhibitors have a choice of stalls inside and outside the Dome, incorporating the usual food and drink as well as entertainment to ensure a proper mix of tenants and attendees.

The launch came days after the Swakopmund branch of the NCCI recommended that the SWAITEX be postponed due to “undue interference” by NCCI officials in Windhoek, which left the initiators and organisers of the popular expo side-lined and frustrated.

In a letter to Mwiya on 16 September, executive chairperson of the branch Paul Ndjambula wrote about a number of issues that he felt made it difficult for them to stage a successful expo this year. His letter has to be seen in the context of on-going resistance by NCCI branch leaders who feel hard done by the national leadership.

“The Swakopmund branch Exco has been completely side-lined in the SWAITEX engagements and we have waited patiently for feedback on the way forward, to no avail until September,” he wrote.

Addressing himself to the NCCI national directors, Ndjambula said of SWAITEX that the question of profitability was not a new issue: “… that is why we have many times in past years asked for support to help growth the revenue of the expo. These requests never received positive support from the secretariat, aside from promises.

“I have received enquiries from the SWAITEX partners asking me why there was no launch and why the sponsorship request letters are signed by the CEO and not the local branch leadership, as in the past.”