Namibia To Showcase Tourism And Economy At Dubai Expo

4 Oct 2021

Author: Brigitte Weidlich

The world expo starts on 1 October 2021 in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Namibia will be among the 190 countries that will have an exhibition pavilion. Some 25 million visitors from all over the world are expected to come to the six month long expo, which was delayed by one year due to the Corona Virus Pandemic.

The design of the Namibian pavilion inside. Graphic: MIT

“Namibia is proud to showcase its various economic sectors at the pavilion in Dubai and we do that also on social media platforms,” says the minister of industrialisation and trade (MIT), Lucia Ipumbu.

The Expo 2020 in Dubai will be the first world expo ever hosted in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region in the 168-year history of world expos. The theme is “connecting minds, creating the future”.

Strict health guidelines during the Dubai Expo

Visitors from the age 18 and older will be required to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination recognised by their national governments or a negative PCR test taken no longer than 72 hours prior to arrival. Non-vaccinated ticket-holders for the expo who have not been tested within this period, can use the testing facility adjacent to the Expo 2020 site. “The PCR test will be free of charge on presentation of any valid Expo 2020 ticket,” the organisers stated.

Namibia has a lot to show off

Namibia’s own theme at the Dubai Expo pavilion is “preserving natural treasures for future generations”. A team already travelled to the UAE in August to prepare everything, Namibia’s pavilion aims to engage global tourists, potential investors and general visitors, particularly those with an interest in conservation. “In order to measure the effectiveness of the pavilion, we will analyse overall visitor numbers, tourism bookings, investor inquiries, retail sales and media attention,” the MIT says.

There will be 4 focus sectors displayed: development of sustainable energy as the key to the future; tourism to connect the “world through natural wonders”, mining and education.

The Namibian pavilion at the Dubai Expo from outside. Photo: MIT
The Namibian pavilion at the Dubai Expo from outside. Photo: MIT  

Namibia is ranked 4th in sub-Saharan Africa on the Global Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index of 2019.

One in three tourists visiting Namibia come from the United Kingdom, South Africa, Germany, US, Netherlands, France, China and Italy.

“Namibia seeks to use its pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai to raise awareness of the nation’s position as a global leader in the areas of environmental conservation and sustainable tourism,” according to the ministry of environment, tourism and forestry (MEFT).

The wildlife conservation exhibit in the pavilion will be an audio-guided photo exhibition that will tell the story of how Namibia protects and preserves its wildlife populations. The exhibit will pay particular attention to the story of the rhino, which is endangered in many countries but is well-protected in Namibia, and the cheetah, of which Namibia has the largest population in the world.

The exhibit will also showcase Namibia’s many other wildlife species, and the delicate ecosystems that must be kept in balance for them to survive. As the goal of this exhibit will be to promote sustainable tourism, it will be located adjacent to the expo’s travel market, where visitors will be able to book holidays to Namibia.

Several investment projects on display

Investment projects of the Namibian Government and the private sector are introduced to garner the interest of potential investment partners include renewable energy, mass housing, tourism and mining.

The Namibian team hard at work getting the pavilion in Dubai ready. Photo: MIT

The Namibian Government intends to construct an International Convention Centre in the capital Windhoek. It has already acquired land suitable for this development near the Windhoek Country Club Resort (WCCR) measuring 20 hectares. The WCCR is owned by the government. A feasibility study has been carried out and finalised and an assessment of a public-private partnership (PPP) has been done. The project involves the development, maintenance, marketing, and transfer back at the end of a concession period for the intended convention and mixed-use centre.

A new waterfront for Walvis Bay and developments

The existing Walvis Bay Waterfront, in the southern corner of the port near the container terminal was driven and developed by local entrepreneurs, providing a unique interface between the town and the sea. Short-term leases were granted to various entities such as tour operators and restaurant owners with the understanding that the port authority, NamPort plans to establish a proper waterfront in this area in the future.

The main objective of the new development is to, in accordance with international best practices, establish an “environmentally friendly world-class waterfront accessible to all citizens of Namibia and international tourists visiting our country” says NamPort.

The project is divided into discrete zones, each of which could be developed independently from any other. Up to 20 hectares has been earmarked for the waterfront development. No other location in Namibia offers 20 hectares of prime, calm seafront land within a busy industrial town, for development into a modern waterfront complex. The portion of land to be made available will be based on lease agreements.

NamPort is open for investment partnerships so that the first phase can kick off as soon as possible.

A private Namibian investor intends to build a three-star hotel and conference centre in Okakarara, some 100 km southeast of Otjiwarongo.

Green Energy Sources

Although Namibia’s renewable energy sector is still developing, some 200 mega watts of electricity already come from solar plants. The country’s climate and natural attributes hold great potential for the development of more solar- and also wind energy. The government has made the development of this sector a priority, as reliable, affordable energy is a crucial need for the country’s economic development objectives. With large tracts of the country covered by invasive and encroaching bush species, preventing wild animals and livestock to roam there, the species are harvested and charcoal is produced, mainly for export and certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC). The local utility company NamPower has plans for a 40 MW biomass plant to be fed by harvested invasive bush species. A further ambitious new project on the cards is a green hydrogen plant in southern Namibia. The German Government has through its own green hydrogen council assured its willingness to support Namibia in developing this sector.

“We are looking forward to share Namibia’s diverse sectors with visitors at the Dubai Expo 2020 until March 2022,” Trade Minister Ipumbu said.

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