President Hage Geingob officially opened the Peugeot-Opel Assembly Plant in Walvis Bay on Wednesday.
“The plant is a significant event for the development of the Erongo Region, most notably Walvis Bay. However, its significance is further amplified by the fact that it augments our national development aspirations and signifies to the international community, Namibia’s intent to become one of the premier destinations for Foreign Direct Investment in Africa,” the president said.
Geingob said since independence in 1990 it has been the government’s objective to create conditions necessary for increased investment and the development of a competitive industrial sector.
“Furthermore, in recent years, we have intensified efforts to promote local value addition and strengthening of forward and backward linkages within the Namibian economy.”
He said the government’s efforts to attract Foreign Direct Investment to Namibia’s shores are not merely for the purpose of establishing factories, but the investment should ultimately buttress the country’s efforts to boost local enterprise development and increase the entry and participation of emerging and existing businesses into the mainstream economy.
“Namibia is still faced with the triple challenge of severe pockets of poverty, unemployment and unequal distribution of income.”
Geingob said Peugeot-Opel Assembly Namibia Plant, will be a project that will bolster the diversification strategy set out in the Growth at Home Strategy.
“We expect our local small and medium enterprises to incur benefit from this investment, further enabling Namibia to realize the positive externalities and spill overs from FDI. The automotive industry is one of the sectors identified in our Growth at Home Strategy as a priority sector.”
He said government is cognizant of the fact that the primary objective of all investors, whether multinationals or local small and medium enterprises, is to make profit.
“Due to the socio-economic realities in the country, it is pertinent that investors remain conscious of issues such as the high level of youth unemployment, gender parity and undertake all efforts to support the country’s development agenda.
“Improving the competitiveness of our workforce is becoming increasingly urgent with the advent of the 4th Industrial Revolution. This is the new reality, which is characterised by digitization, artificial intelligence and robotics.”
Geingob disclosed that there are a number of countries in the region that would have been happy to host the plant, but said the negotiations revealed the commitment of the Namibian Government and Peugeot, to make Namibia the preferred choice for this Assembly Plant.
“The plant is another example of the fruits of the robust Franco-Namibia relationship.”
The plant is a joint venture between Peugeot and the Namibia Development Corporation.
It is expected to produce 5,000 units by 2020.