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Stefanus Nashama

Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB), says the country’s current marketing strategy is not likely to attract an inflow of foreign direct investments or boost tourism, which are both essential to stimulating economic activities and growth unless urgent steps to develop a national brand are taken.

In a media statement the NIPDB Senior Manager for Marketing, Branding and Communications, Catherine Shipushu said as an emerging market, Namibia finds herself frequently competing, either directly or indirectly, with other nations to capture the attention of investors.

The current perception of Namibia as ‘Africa’s best-kept secret’ is not likely to significantly catalyse an inflow of foreign direct investment or boost tourism, both of which are essential to stimulating economic activity and growth in the country.

She said that to cut through the ‘noise’ and stand out as the destination of choice, Namibia must forge a national identity that not only strategically differentiates her but does so in a manner that is credible and relevant. Hence, building a national brand is thus no longer an option or a luxury, but a strategic imperative for Namibia’s sustainable economic growth.

“The long-term strategic vision is to position Namibia as a place to live, visit and invest in, and developing a sustainable and credible nation brand will strengthen the value proposition and economic incentive for potential investors and tourists to choose Namibia as their preferred investment and travel destinations, respectively. With the exception of national symbols such as the flag or the coat of arms, Namibia does not have a universally recognisable brand and brand strategy.

To kick-start the process, the Nation Brand Working Committee, chaired by the Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Hon. Emma Theofelus, resolved to appoint an independent consultant to develop the nation brand strategy for Namibia, with the ultimate objective of enhancing the country’s global presence,” she said.

Shipushu added that NIPDB holds the mandate to promote Namibia as an investment destination and serves as the Secretariat to the Nation Brand Working Committee, initiated the bidding process for the appointment of the consultant to develop Namibia’s nation brand and communication strategy, through a request for proposals.

“Building a national brand is a complex, long-term process that requires proven experience and strategic insights into how national brands behave, issues of country competitiveness and shifting perceptions, among others. Therefore, appointing the right team or company to help the country craft this strategy is almost as important as the strategy development process itself. Given the magnitude of the project, the bidding process is expected to be highly competitive, welcoming both local and international companies,” she explained.

Further encouraging suitably eligible Namibian companies to submit their proposals for the “monumental undertaking” which according to her will shape the country’s future trajectory.

“NIPDB is acutely aware that nation branding is still a highly specialised and niche field and recognizes the importance of building local capacity. Therefore, we have mandated all international bidders to partner with a local company or agency. In practical terms, international bidders are required to develop a bespoke programme that details how their respective companies intend to build capacity for Namibians as part of this bid,” she concluded.

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