Namibia’s team has been at Expo 2020, being hosted in Dubai, United Arab Emirates for five months. The goal has been to attract investors and mark the country as a premier tourism and investment destination on a global scale.
Namibia’s pavilion, under the custodianship of Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB), is located in the ‘Opportunity’ district of the Expo. It has been highlighting priority sectors such as renewable energy, marine diamonds & mining, tourism and conversation, and cultural heritage.
This year, for the first time in World Expo history, every participating country will have its own pavilion.
Thus far, since officially opening its doors on 1 October 2021, the Namibian pavilion has recorded a steadily increasing number that has surpassed 146,000. This is, on average 37,000 visitors per month.
According to Catherine Shipushu, NIPDB’s Marketing and Communications manager, the pavilion has generated 23 investment leads thus far. She says this is well above the targeted 10 leads a month.
“Most investor interest is in the area of Green Hydrogen. Recorded leads indicate investor interest in other key industries such as agriculture, education, tourism, and various trade activities. In terms of country of origin, over 50% of potential investors emanate from the United Arab Emirates, with less than 10% of African origin,” she says.
According to the team, the highlight of the Expo so far has been the Namibia Renewable Energy Summit in November 2021. It was attended by participants from all over the globe, including potential investors from China, India, Zimbabwe, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates.
The summit was organised to showcase investment opportunities in the renewable energy space and to provide insight into the legal framework that governs investments in the Namibian energy sector.
Although there is only a month left before the World Expo concludes, Namibia’s pavilion has a packed schedule that will carry right until the final week, with promises of a strong finish.
“In March, Namibia is expected to celebrate its biggest month yet at the Expo. The Namibian Pavilion has put together a schedule packed with events to coincide with the Expo’s thematic weeks and aligned to the country’s own strategic agenda,” says Shipushu.
There is a Namibia Investment Conference slated for 23 March. This conference is envisaged to be the climax event of the country’s Expo 2020 Dubai journey and will be one of the final pitches on investment opportunities, brand awareness, and export promotion.
A day later, Namibia National Day will be on full display. All participating countries are accorded an opportunity to celebrate their National Day at Expo 2020 Dubai.
“Namibia’s National Day will be celebrated on 24 March 2022. Part of the celebrations will include a tour of the Namibian and UAE Pavilions, respectively, a parade and performances to showcase Namibia’s unique culture,” says Shipushu.
This National Day celebration is also when the Namibian Braai in Dubai will take place, featuring Namibian cuisine, beverages, and music. This multi-sensory event will be a vibrant showcase of Namibia’s cultural heritage on the global stage.
“The Expo has also put together key events in March where high-ranking Namibian officials are expected to participate. More information on these and the above-mentioned events will be shared at a later stage.”
The journey has not been without its challenges. Travel restrictions imposed on Namibia and other African countries, particularly during the height of the Omicron variant in December 2021, stifled some of the Namibian team’s plans.
Despite this, Shipushu says, “We have found a solution to this challenge by leveraging technology to ensure that all investment promotion activities continue as planned. The NIPDB has the mammoth responsibility to ensure a return on the government’s investment into this Expo.
As such the Board remains committed to carrying out this assignment to ensure that the outcomes of the country’s participation at the Expo positively contribute towards ensuring economic prosperity for all Namibians.”