When you hear the word “Namibia” you instantly think about a breathtaking country where the hot sandy desserts and beautiful beaches collide.
During the past few weeks, this picture would have looked quite different if you had to describe it as the country was covered in a blanket of freezing temperatures and heavy rain. A cold front from the South Atlantic Ocean continued to bring cold weather and rainfall in various regions across the country. The cold front lasted for almost a week with freezing temperatures in the South West areas in Namibia.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on human mobility. Life as we know it has completely changed. Each individual are now washing their hands vigorously, wearing masks everywhere they go and avoid social contact at all cost. And worse than these daily disruptions in our day to day life, is the fact that the pandemic are fundamentally changing the face of global migration.
As we all know multiple industries have been heavily affected by this, especially the tourism industry. Some of us are fortunate enough to work from home during this time, but not all individuals are that fortunate.
Many labor migrants – especially of the low-skilled variety, do not have the option to work from home. Many individuals that works in the low-skilled sector and has a lower income, must physically go to work. This would be domestic workers, miners, farmers etc. This puts them at greater risk of contracting- and spreading COVID-19. This is also the sector that feels it the most, since a lot of them aren’t able to go to work, they can not generate an income for their household. While exemptions might have been made for key professions (e.g., scientists, doctors, journalists, government leaders), those who travel to work and travel for work may not be able to do so for the foreseeable future. This will have implications on families, economy, and potentially on food security.
In efforts to reunite people with their families, close to 200 Namibians have been repatriated from Germany and more then 400 foreign nationals in Namibia have been sent back to Europe. Most of the passengers who repatriated to Namibia are either Namibian nationals, permanent residents, or on domicile status while a small number hold valid work permits for essential service companies. Since Namibia declared state of emergency in March, WestAir Aviation has facilitated several intercontinental repatriation flights to return Namibians home amid global travel restrictions.
Namibia remain attractive during this pandemic and we applaud our government on how they are handling the pandemic. Although the amount of COVID-19 related cases is increasing, the government are doing an immense job with only 3 Covid-19 related deaths and a total of 1247 confirmed cases recorded, since the beginning of the pandemic.
With a developing infrastructure and a developed economy, Namibia provides numerous opportunities for international investors seeking a foothold and growth on the African continent. Namibia is one of the countries in Africa with the most peaceful and politically stable environments, with its beauty, natural and diverse landscapes and being one of the sparsely populated countries in the world, makes it even more attractive. Namibia is known for its natural resources, their economy centers on agriculture, fishing, and mining. The tourism industry’s also grown rapidly and is slowly becoming one of the country’s biggest foreign income, as well as creating jobs for the nation.
Having worked in the tourism industry for many years, I experienced firsthand how foreigners falls in love with Namibia after their first visit and want to either invest here or settle permanently. Namibia offers excellent opportunities for investment across many sectors especially those mentioned above. The government of Namibia is open to foreign direct investment and foreign nationals coming to Namibia, however the government and Namibian people do not want to be extorted and want local communities to be uplifted and educated in the process of foreign investment.
In our next article we will explain in more detail how foreigners can take advantage of Namibia’s Investment Opportunities. We will then provide you with practical information on how one can best proceed further.
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By Uaaruka Kandjii