Namibia, Botswana beef sectors urged to merge
WINDHOEK - Former President of Botswana Festus Mogae has called on the beef sectors in Namibia and Botswana to create a single beef exporting market in order to become more competitive internationally.
Mogae said this would help the beef sectors of the two countries to deal with challenges, which they face individually on the more competitive international markets, together. “Our beef industries must come together and create a single beef market, this will not only make us more competitive, but it will also help us to deal with demands we are finding difficult to meet individually,” said the former statesman. Mogae said this in his keynote address during the 2nd Founders and Alumni Dinner held by the Namibia Business School last Thursday.
The dinner was held under the theme – ‘Botswana and Namibia: Strategic options for shared prosperity amidst global challenges’. He said if the two countries fail to unify their beef markets they will not be able to compete with bigger beef suppliers such as Brazil. “If we put our products together to process and export them jointly we may withstand the rough times posed by international markets,” he said. “Namibia and Botswana have excellent quality beef, the problem lies with quantity because we are not united,” said Mogae.
He also called for increased collaboration in the agricultural sectors of the two countries and said that there is a need to be more strategic in dealing with the international community. “Our major strategic pillar should be our unity, so that we confront the international community united and therefore compete internationally on a bigger forum,” he said.
Mogae said the two countries cannot continue to live in isolation and called on both governments to create policies aimed at improving the lives of people in both countries. “We should continue to pursue export oriented policies. In order for industries in our countries to achieve economies of scale we need bigger markets and foreign direct investors from all over the world to assist with economic diversification, employment creation and poverty reduction,” he said.
Mogae also urged the two governments to create conducive investment regimes for both local and foreign investors. “Investors and industries need consumers, our populations do not offer the necessary market, a combined market sector would still be relatively small, but better than our fragmented individual markets. “If we can join hands we will be able to provide a bigger, better and competitive market, which will boost trade significantly,” he said. He further said the envisaged Trans-Kalahari Railway project will provide access to international markets for all SADC countries. “If constructed, the railway will connect Zimbabwe and Zambia as well and as a result will offer more export options for everyone involved,” he said. Mogae is also of the opinion that the Walvis Bay port is ‘grossly under-utilized’ because of the volumes currently handled there. “Our countries are economically and politically stable, we must take advantage of it and make it functional and beneficial to us,” he said.
By Mathias Haufiku