Business booms at Oshikango market

Oshikango-On a visit to a section of Okatwitwi informal market at the border town of Oshikango, New Era was taken aback by the filthy, stinking, flooded informal market, despite it being a booming place for the sale of mahangu grain and other crop seeds.

Thriving mahangu grain businesses seem to have substituted cross-border chicken sales, which were banned late last year following the outbreak of Newcastle disease.

The popular market sells mahangu grain at N$70 for a 25-litre bucketful, pig feed at N$30 per 25 litres, besides chicken feed, sugar, rice, fruits, vegetables and even the popular kapana.

Neither the smell nor the rubbish or floodwater that has deluged the surroundings have deterred Angolan nationals from conducting their business at Oshikango.

Vendors and buyers could be seen mingling and consuming food seemingly oblivious to the filth.

Following heavy rains in the region last week vendors reported they conducted business in ankle-deep water. They travel a vast distance daily from Santa Clara, Angola for business.

"We placed our goods on objects as business has to go on as usual. We come from too far just to stand by and look," said Inasia Rolalya.

Although business is reported to have picked up at the border town, the Governor of the Bank of Namibia, Ipumbu Shiimi, said the gross domestic product (GDP) grown in Angola is trading at 1.5 percent in 2017 following a slump in oil prices. Angola like many African countries relies heavily on a single commodity for its economic survival. Oil is Angola's main revenue earner.

The growth is relatively low compared to at least 6.8 percent in 2013 and at least 3.0 in 2015. But the governor said it is a slight improvement from 2016 where the growth rate stood at 0.0 percent.

Previously-closed businesses at the border town were observed to have reopened.

Rolalya who until August last year was conducting her business from Angola had to relocate her business to where the money is.

She said although business is good in Namibia and generates good profits from sales, the money depreciates when exchanged into kwanza.

Initially, 1 000 kwanza was equivalent to N$100 but N$100 is now equivalent to 1 060 kwanza.

"The money is good here, but when you return home you still have no money," said one vendor who referred to the shortage of cash at banks in Angola.

Asked whether they are pleased to operate in a filthy area, the vendors said the area was usually much cleaner before it rained.

One vendor said Helao Nafidi officials are always in their midst cleaning up the dirt.

Namibian vendors who operate at the market said they had to abandon doing business since last week while the water subsided.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia