Namibians Need to Maximize Value Share of Value Chains

For the Namibian economy to maximise the value share in any value chain, it is important to also partake in those links where the greatest value is generated. This sentiment was expressed by Minister of Trade and Industry, Calle Schlettwein, on Monday during the official opening of the Schooltex and Sportwear retail outlet in Windhoek’s Town Square.

Schooltex and Sportwear cc is part of MampM Innovations, a Namibian garment manufacturing company of school, sport and safety wear, which was supported by the Ministry of Trade and Industry under the scheme aiming to encourage investment in value addition and local production as part of Namibia’s growth at home strategy.

MampM Innovations was founded in February 2001, and its owner Beauty Mathupi has managed to grow the company from an initial four employees to over 80 employees. However, more importantly the company enables consumers to purchase locally manufactured school wear thereby providing a quality substitute for imported goods.

During the official opening of the retail outlet on Monday, the Trade and Industry Minister used the value chain of a typical shirt as an example, saying that the value created includes one to four percent for production, five to eight percent for support, one to five percent for technology and up to 70 percent for marketing and retail.

“Namibia cannot afford to forgo economic gains and income as a result of lack of value addition at home, export of job opportunities to countries where value is added, and the exposure to risks due to dependence on exhaustible commodities and fluctuations in demand and prices. Namibia’s manufacturing capacity and participation in distribution and retailing needs to be accelerated to deliver equitable benefits of economic growth, additional job opportunities and equitable wealth sharing to the whole of society.

Our economy must be geared towards a higher level of value addition, a better value capturing in value chains, enhanced local supply-side capacity as well as better co-ordination and collaboration between all role players in the economy, including public-private dialogue,” said Schlettwein.

He said that it is through initiatives such as MampM Innovations that Namibians can supplement imported goods with locally produced goods, which would also create more local jobs.

Meanwhile, owner of MampM Innovations, Mathupi said she identified a gap in the local market when Ramatex Textiles closed down in 2006. It was then that she approached vocational training centres for prospective employees and targeted schools that often imported most of their textile needs. “While we employ 83 staff today we envisage more jobs to be created with this retail outlet,” said Mathupi.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry has supported MampM Innovations with support services ranging from participation in international exhibitions, sourcing exposure to China for competitive industrial inputs, provision of production equipment and through its Sites and Premises and Rental Support Programme has secured the retail space for the company to enter the retail market.

Schlettwein said the ministry has also embarked on developing a Retail Charter as a voluntary instrument through which certain benchmark and ambitions are agreed upon by the sector’s shareholders. The overall goal is to develop a retail sector in Namibia that meaningfully contributes and strives to grow the economy.

The Charter Committee tasked to develop the different pillars of the charter has been composed and launched. The pillars for the charter include local sourcing, Namibian ownership, enterprise development, marketing visibility and shelf-space availability for new products, youth and women participation, consumer protection, capacity building and transparency protection.

Source : New Era