The future looks bright

Tomorrow marks Namibia's 27th independence anniversary. Known for its proud history and rich cultural diversity, Namibia celebrates peace and stability that have provided a conducive environment for socio-economic development and progress, says Sven Thieme of O&L.

20 March 2017 | Business

Sven Thieme, executive chairman of the Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group and president of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI), has expressed confidence in the country's future despite the current global and local economic challenges.

“We are faced with a tough economic climate which poses a lot of challenges. However, we should remain focused and not lose the opportunity that is presented by a good crisis – the opportunity of finding breakthroughs we never would have found had it not been for the tough times,” he says.

According to Thieme Namibia is undoubtedly one of the most peaceful and economically stable countries in Africa.

“It is inspiring and of note that the collective leadership of public and private partnerships have earned Africa's – and dare I say the world's - recognition, respect and trust for Namibia and the leaders who have developed our country, lifted people out of poverty and paved the way for sustainable and equitable prosperity.

“While it is a continuous journey, I am inspired by the significant reduction in poverty levels of the country and the successful integration of people to build one nation. Furthermore ... we have made great strides in infrastructure development while the cooperation between government and the private sector and the conducive business environment created by government are all celebratory successes that deserve pride and recognition.”

On the flipside, a culture of entitlement, corruption, lack of discipline and general inefficiency are challenges that need to be urgently addressed, says Thieme.

“This includes all sectors, namely the public, private, primary, secondary and tertiary sectors. A simple example is the basic understanding of respecting traffic signs and rules. Imagine the chaos we would find ourselves in if we just ignored the rules, whether it is not indicating the turn you're about to take or skipping a red robot. We will eventually not reach our destination as a result of the consequences of ill-discipline.”

Thieme challenges the corporate sector to unite as one voice by partnering with the government to create a sustainable future for generations to come.

“In order to move forward we need to get rid of hidden agendas and leave the past where it belongs. Think, share and act on addressing national concerns such as poverty eradication and income inequality.

“We have the power and ability to secure a positive future for our children, their children and the generations to come. High levels of debt and inefficiency will be at the cost of our children going forward.

“We need to demonstrate more patriotism for our country by supporting local produce, products and services. Many people want their children to have jobs, but they forget that for that to happen they need to support local.”

Thieme concludes by reminding every Namibian of the significant part they play in building a prosperous future for Namibia.

“The journey will be much easier if we become less selfish and greedy and give more recognition to each other. We have to bring thinking to everything and understand that common sense is not always common.

“Let's remind ourselves that we all are leaders in our own right – so recognise and appreciate the leader within you. But remember that true and respected leadership often requires that we listen more than we talk. That way we'll learn more. Here's to 27 years of visionary leadership – may we as a nation rise as the African gem unfolding into stardom. Happy Independence Day!”


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