Buy Local, Grow Namibia Phase II builds momentum with partners
30 September 2021
On Monday 27th September, the UN and its partners gathered in a pop-up market inside UN House to promote phase II of the Buy Local, Grow Namibia campaign.
The first phase of this project began last year with a primary focus on encouraging retailers to stock products made in Namibia and persuading consumers to buy the locally produced goods whenever they visit a market. The campaign succeeded in empowering local producers, creators, and service providers, but also in transforming the landscape of local consumption.
Launched in May, phase II seeks to build on the success of the first.
The Monday event began with speeches from special guests who outlined the goals and benefits of the second phase.
Minister of Industrialisation and Trade Lucia Iipumbu highlighted the ‘capacity building, creative industries, the informal sector and the tourism sector’ that would be energised by the Buy Local, Grow Namibia campaign.
This next step in the campaign aims to help Namibian businesses navigate the maze of standards and requirements, while promoting to Namibians the value in supporting their community by buying locally. This involves tackling the challenge of being noticed in a market ‘dominated by foreign imports’, by beginning to address issues such as ‘quality standards, access to finance, and distribution channels.’
Fortunately, progress towards accessing markets has already begun. Examples such as Namstarter, a crowdfunding start-up which helps informal vendors access finance, and the Ministry’s recent launch of a unique Namibian barcode, a factor which may sound insignificant but was found to significantly impact access to markets, will bring Namibia closer to these aims.
In other addresses, partners such as Jane Kandetu, Team Namibia’s Coordinator, passionately illustrated the value of spreading the campaign’s core message - to buy local goods - and how this would positively impact on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Mobilizing the tourism sector in spreading this message was identified as an important avenue towards this aim.
M’kariko Amagulu, Director at the Ministry of Education, Arts, and Culture also highlighted the oft-ignored creative sector in discussions like these and how Buy Local, Grow Namibia could foster the flourishing of the artistic industries. She said that by fixing issues surrounding financing, copyright, and trade policy, to allow Namibian companies to join the existing ones, we could harness the potential of this ‘untapped’ sector.
Amagulu added that a key factor in the success of this is encouraging thinking of the creative industry as more than just an artist but as a value chain of the livelihoods along the distribution, marketing, and sales staff behind the creative people.
The speeches ended with the signing of a canvas, where dignitaries made pledges and spelled out what they would like to see from the campaign.
Notable commitments include that visits would be made to informal markets to speak with vendors on the ground, allowing the UN to discover more about their needs and highlight to Namibians the kinds of products available in these markets and publishing Namibian companies in Namibian media outlets with special discounted rates.
Finally, the floor was given to the most important guests of the morning, the vendors. Guests were allowed to explore the stalls which flanked the stage, allowing them to speak to, connect with, and purchase from the businesses for themselves.
Vendors gave heart-warming testimonies about phase one, and how it succeeded in increasing the sales of female owned businesses, small businesses, and traders in the informal sector and shared their appreciation of the continuing support the project would provide.
Traders like Natasha from NamYum Peanut Butter explained how an event like this offered her business an important chance for exposure and to gain a greater insight into industry standards.
This sentiment was echoed by Tupo from Tupo Namfood, who hoped that the scheme would provide an opportunity for his business to gain ‘greater exposure to other retail spaces and bigger markets’ in the future.
A special thank you to UN Namibia's partners in this endeavour, Namibia Trade Forum, The Namibian Newspaper, Team Namibia, Weatherman, and the Namibia Investment Promotion Board for building on momentum from last year to stimulate local economic growth, raise awareness, and secure market access for local goods.
Buying local and growing Namibia is up to all of us - Join the Movement!