SMEs innovatively empowered through the distribution of drought relief

Niël Terblanché

The Office of the Prime Minister has unveiled plans to uplift Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) across Namibia by integrating them into the country’s drought relief efforts.

This groundbreaking initiative, set to commence in April, aims to harness the potential of local SMEs.

The programme will enable SMEs to become key suppliers of essential drought relief food items such as cooking oil, canned fish, and flour within their respective communities.

The strategy, which represents a collaborative effort between the Khomas Regional Council, the business community, and the Office of the Prime Minister, seeks to empower local vendors by making them an essential element in addressing the pressing needs of their communities amidst challenging drought conditions.
By focusing on SME operators, the initiative not only aims to provide immediate relief to affected areas but also to foster economic growth and resilience at the grassroots level.

Oscar Hiskia, the Disaster Coordinator in the Khomas Regional Council said that to qualify as a drought relief food supplier, one critical requirement is that vendors must operate registered businesses.

According to Hiskia, the stipulation ensures that the program not only supports legitimate businesses but also encourages formalization and compliance within the SME sector.

He stated that tenders for supplying drought relief food would be exclusively awarded to locally registered SMEs and added that it is clear evidence of the government’s commitment to reinforcing local entrepreneurship and economic development.

Hiskia indicated that once the plans are fully implemented, participating SMEs will assume the responsibility of delivering drought relief food every month.

He is confident that the arrangement not only promises to streamline the distribution of essential supplies to communities in need but also offers a sustainable model for economic empowerment.

Hiskia added that by leveraging the agility and local knowledge of SMEs, the initiative is poised to make a significant impact on both the immediate challenge of drought relief and the long-term goal of building a more robust and inclusive economy.

The initiative is also a significant departure from traditional approaches to disaster relief and economic development.

By placing local SMEs at the heart of drought relief efforts, Namibia is pioneering a model that could inspire similar strategies in other countries facing similar challenges.

The programme is proof of the power of innovative thinking and collaboration in addressing complex societal issues while simultaneously fostering local economic growth and sustainability.

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