The deputy minister of information and communications technology, Emma Theofilus, says the diamond industry should create a sustainable future for all Namibians by ensuring economic progression.
Theofilus was speaking at the opening of the Oranjemund Diamond Festival on Friday, where she called for reflection on how the government, the private sector and community leaders can sustainably look after Namibians.
The diamond festival took place under the theme ‘Creating a Sustainable Future Through Economic Diversification’.
The annual festival is a platform for businesses to showcase their services and products, and, at the same time, engage investors.
“Whether the diamonds are in the ground or we mined them out makes no difference if economic progression does not touch the bodies and lives of ordinary Namibians,” Theofilus said.
“It is unsustainable to continue having high levels of violence. It is unsustainable to continue having high levels of unemployment. It is unsustainable to continue having high levels of poverty..
“I believe it is important through this festival that all of us reflect on how we can sustainably look after our citizens,” the deputy minister said.
//Kharas governor Aletha Frederick said it is critical to recognise that creating a sustainable future for all through economic diversification requires greater collaboration between the private sector and regional and local structures.
She said dedication to the growth of the small en medium enterprise (SME) sector and trade stems from the conviction that SMEs are significant generators of long-term job creation and are thus essential to the success of an enterprise economy.
“To achieve economic growth, job creation, accelerating business development and expansion, and fostering entrepreneurship within our economy, the government is duty bound to support these regional economic activities and initiatives since they facilitate the development of business relationships and links between buyers, sellers and producers,” Theofilus said.
“Festivals and fairs are regarded as the most efficient way to boost local economies since they make it easier for customers, sellers and manufacturers to establish commercial ties,” she said.
Festival patron Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun said the festival is testimony to Oranjemund’s identity and heritage.
“This festival showcases not only Oranjemund’s achievements. It is also a moment in which we come together to honour all those who contribute to the success of the diamond industry,” she said.
In celebration of this heritage, this year’s festival included a community photo exhibition to provide Oranjemunders with the opportunity to reflect, while also providing tourists the rare opportunity to see the more intimate and personal aspects of the town.
The StArt Art Gallery in a statement said responses were diverse and joyful, with amateurs, hobbyists and professionals using everything – from cellphone cameras to high-end equipment – to capture and share their favourite parts of the town.
A total of 74 photographs are on display.