Trade and Industry
Activities in the Khomas region are centred on Windhoek, the country’s administrative, legislative, judicial and financial capital. The majority of larger companies and corporates active in Namibia have their head offices situated in Windhoek. This makes Windhoek the nerve centre for most economic activities throughout the country.
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Windhoek accommodates most of Namibia’s light industries and manufacturing. Although the basic structure of SME activities in this region is similar to the other central regions, the SME sector as a whole is much bigger in size as compared to the other central regions. In addition it has a complete different profile in terms of sophistication of products and services as well as the level of management.
Manufacturing in the Khomas Region consists chiefly of meat processing, bottling and canning, beer brewing, plastics and refrigeration. Other types of manufacturing that takes place in the Khomas region is aluminum products, beverages, awnings, blinds, canopies, carpets, charcoal, chemicals, clothing, baking and confectionery, limited food production, furniture, steel products, etc. Some activity in the manufacturing of paints, metal work, plastic packaging, safety clothing and solar power are also taking place.
The second most important economic activity is trading. Windhoek has a lively motor trade in new and second hand cars as well as in motor spares. Other retail and wholesale activities abound, while the services sector is healthy. Telecommunication services, transport, tourism and security companies abound in the capital.
When you speak to various stakeholders in the region, the general feeling was that agriculture and agro-industry on the one hand and tourism on the other hand remains the sectors that hold the most promising potential for business development. In terms of ancillary services to these sectors, the region holds much potential. It is, however, also true that trade and industry is not developing value-adding industries that could absorb outputs from the primary sectors. Expanding the economic base and developing trade and industry should primarily focus around these sectors.
The superior infrastructure is sustained by the regions well developed economic, trade and financial sectors, which presents a great potential for further investment, growth and creation of much needed employment in order to reduce poverty.
Numerous project proposals were made in terms of trade and industrial development for the Khomas Region. The majority of these proposals are however of such a nature that it would be best leaving them for private initiative for further development should they prove to be profitable. Those ideas that will require assistance from central government for further investigation have been listed under the section for future projects.
Windhoek is the country’s tourism capital and a number of tour operators operate from Windhoek. It is, however, a sad fact that much of the capital generated through Namibian tourism is not retained in this country and this sector holds enormous economic potential. Trade is in many aspects heavily dependent on the tourist market. The region also holds much possibility for the development of eco-tourism.
Windhoek is a well-developed city with excellent infrastructure in most parts and a well-established business sector that can provide for most of the requirements that may come from different sectors of the economy.
Objectives for Investment
- Identify and investigate new or expanded markets for all products manufactured from local raw materials.
- Provide sufficient and more functional operational space for existing and new trading and manufacturing enterprises.
- Expand or create new markets for existing enterprises.
- Improve the regulatory environment in which businesses have to operate.
- Increase existing enterprises’ ability to employ more people.
- Improve entrepreneurs’ access to financial instruments.
- Include Entrepreneurial Training into main stream syllabus.
The important tourist gateway, the Hosea Kutako International Airport, is situated in this region.. This is an area where already significant development of accommodation and facilities have taken place and limited potential for further development exists.
Of the 10 constituencies this region consists of 9 are in the urban area of Windhoek and 1, Windhoek Rural, in the commercial farming area where title deed to all tourist developments can be obtained.
According to the 1998 Accommodation Statistics of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, by the end of 1998 there were 24 Guest Farms, 13 Hotels, 9 Pensions and 7 Rest Camps registered in this region providing 1398 rooms and 3008 beds to tourists visiting this region. The average room occupancy rate of these establishments during 1998 was 46,6 %. There are also a large number of Guesthouses and Bed & Breakfast Establishments in Windhoek which are not included in these figures.
(b) Objectives for Investment
To develop through the proper implementation of the regional plan the tourism potential and industry in the Khomas region in a sustainable and responsible manner to significantly contribute to the economic development of this region and the quality of life of its people. This should be done through:
- Recognition of tourism as an important land use option in the region.
- Effective protection of the natural resource base for tourism.
- Establishment and maintenance of appropriate infrastructure for tourism.
- Provision of quality tourism services at regional/international standards.
- Effective and competitive marketing of the tourism product of the region.
- Equitable local participation in tourism projects.
- Effective co-operation in tourism between different components of government and between government and the private sector.
- Extension of infrastructure to open hitherto inaccessible and closed rural areas for tourism development.
- adequate funding for tourism projects
- Adequate tourism training.
- Development of tourism awareness throughout the region and its people.
About 90 per cent of the Khomas region’s projected total population of more about 250,000 live in Windhoek and its immediate surroundings. Water conservation campaigns and municipal regulations relating to livestock mean that virtually no backyard gardening and small stock raising is practised by Windhoek residents. Rural Khomas consists of large scale commercial farms and farms previously under the Baster Administration in Rehoboth. Small holdings are found around Windhoek which, for the most part, are not used for farming, as well as what might be termed ‘rural slums’ occupied by landless people (SIAPAC. 1999).
In general, it can be said that Windhoek does not accord with normal patterns of agricultural development around urban areas in that little is produced specifically for the Windhoek market. This is partly because of limited irrigation potential except on a small scale from boreholes and farm dams. Farming consists largely of extensive cattle raising with some small stock particularly to the south (see Livestock Census figures below). Increasing numbers of game farms and lodges are taking advantage of Windhoek’s thriving tourism industry. Only a few farmers have succeeded with small-scale commercial horticulture providing fresh produce to the Windhoek market The vast majority of Windhoek’s fresh horticulture market is supplied from South Africa. Commercial dairying and poultry egg production also takes place in the vicinity of Windhoek.
Windhoek is the major national manufacturing centre and hosts several industries that add value to agricultural produce. These include abattoir and meat processing, hide processing and leather manufacturing. These industries have major growth potential for the export market and consideration is being given as to whether to grant them EPZ status to encourage essential capital investment.
As the location of the headquarters of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Rural Development, the region hosts a number of agricultural development projects of a national nature.
(b) Objectives for Investment
- Enhance agricultural production at the regional and household level in a sustainable manner.
- Raise the volume and value of agricultural exports and reduce the value of agricultural imports.
- Promote complementary on and off-farm income generation, livelihood and employment opportunities.
- Maximize the potential value added to agricultural output.
Wildlife in Khomas Region occurs both in the single protected area, the Daan Viljoen Game Park just outside Windhoek, and in the farmlands that comprise the rest of the region. Privately owned land is split into farms which are fenced to prevent stock from straying. This restricts wildlife movements to some extent but generally wild species are contained within farms only where there is game fencing. Densities of wild animals are never very high in the region, but there are nevertheless good populations of animals including oryx, springbok, kudu, duiker, steenbok, warthog and ostrich. A number of species that would not occur naturally in the area have been introduced. These include roan, sable, nyala, waterbuck, black-faced impala as well as non-indigenous species such as blesbok and black wildebeest. Questionnaire surveys by M.E.T. have provided baseline information about the likely numbers of wild mammals in the region.
Other species in farmland include various small felids (cats such as caracal, serval, African wild cat, small spotted cat), foxes, viverrids (mongooses, civet, honey badger etc.), pangolins, antbears, rodents, bats, baboons, snakes and other reptiles.
It can be seen that with the variety of wild species and fairly sizeable populations there is considerable potential for wildlife conservation and sustainable utilization, be it through benign tourist activities such as photography and “wilderness experience” or through hunting for trophies or meat. Wildlife is a very valuable resource in the region and the “wildlife industry” has considerable potential for expansion and development.
(b) Objectives for Investment
To maintain inter alia through the proper implementation of the regional plan the ecosystems, essential ecological processes and biological diversity in the Khomas region and to utilise the living natural resources of the region in a sustainable manner. This is through:
- The effective protection of the natural resource base of the region.
- Develop the game farming industry.
- Restock depleted land with game and develop conservancies to manage their sustainable utilisation.
The viability of mining endeavours in Namibia in general and therefore the Khomas Region in particular rely entirely on the ability of private sector individuals and organisations to extract and market mineral commodities competitively within the free market system. Thus the ore grading and the efficiency of extraction control mine development.
The Khomas Region hosts rock formations that are rich in mineralisation and profitable mines have been developed and operated in the region over the years. Base metals are regionally important however world prices for such commodities have been relatively low over recent years causing a decline in mining activity in the Region.
The Ministry of Mines and Energy foresees that prospects for new discoveries are improving. An increase in offshore diamond mining and initiatives aimed at mineral processing will increase sector activity. Due to this projected increase in offshore diamond mining and since the regulating role of the Diamond Board and Namcor that will fall to the Ministry it will need to strengthen it’s regulating activity.
The Ministry believes that increased international and regional competitiveness will call for an increase in its influence in measuring and shaping Namibia’s incentives to attract investment that will facilitate investment on a continuous basis for the years to come.
The Khomas region is typically highland savanna on the mountains, highlands and plateaux of central Namibia. Shallow soils and arid climate leads to stunted vegetation. Tree species are dominated by Acacia hereroensi, A. mellifera, A. reficiens, Dichrostachys cinerea, and A. erubescens. Nearly all of the region is commercial farmland with some Acacia mellifera encroachment although this is not extensive.
The Directorate of Forestry headquarters are in the region at Windhoek where the Director is supported by Deputy Director, Forester and junior staff in overseeing the country-wide forestry operations. In private lands most management is oriented towards grazing for livestock and game. The Directorate of Forestry has limited activity in these lands although it monitors and provides permits for such operations as charcoal production.
(b) Objectives for Investment
- To conserve the natural ecosystems for their biodiversity and other values.
- To contribute to increased agricultural productivity through soil and water conservation.
- To support national efforts aimed at poverty alleviation and equitable development.
- To protect of biodiversity and prevent climate change.
Fisheries and Marine Resources
The Khomas region, for the most part has the highest altitude of any region in the country. This in effect means that no major perennial or ephemeral rivers flow through the region nor is there a marine coast line. The ephemeral Kuiseb River rises in this region and then flows westwards towards the sea. Three small state dams are in the region: Friedenau (0.8 km2), Goreangab (1.0 km2) and Avis (0.5 km2). Recreational fishing takes place on Avis dam and only occasional recreational fishing occurs on Friedenau dam. Goreangab dam supports a small subsistence fishery practised by the residence of the informal settlements around the dam. This is an important food source for these people though the sanitary state of the dam is poor.
Constraints to developing fisheries in this region are the lack of water. The state owned dams are not large enough to consider commercial fishing, so development beyond the present low level of subsistence and recreational fishing, would not be possible.
(b) Objectives for Investment
- To ensure the sustainable, optimal utilisation of the fresh water fish resource.