An Open Letter to H.E. President Dr. Hage Geingob – Namibia: Road Map to Recovery, Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Economic Liberation

AN OPEN LETTER TO H.E. PRESIDENT DR. HAGE GEINGOB

December 21, 2015

His Excellency
Dr. Hage Geingob, President
Republic of Namibia

NAMIBIA: ROAD MAP TO RECOVERY, POVERTY ERADICATION AND SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC LIBERATION:

Your Excellency,

Preamble – The travail: The travails of Africa and her people, their struggles against the burden of deprivation, shackles of poverty, the onslaught of sickness and diseases, the pangs of hunger, the continued systematic stripping and pitiless plundering of her human and natural resources dates back to the times before the dark days of slave trade. Foreign policies on Economic Cooperation and Sustainable Developments of the Governments of Advanced Nations have continued to deliberately (as it were), raise the bars beyond the reach of Africa, given her peculiar situation of poverty, lack of development, Economic instability etc, whereas the Advanced world has never ceased to depend on Africa’s natural and human resources responsible for the significant strides that these Nations have made in their overall Economic Developments.

Africa is thus caught in this irony of starvation in the midst of super abundance. Our situation as a people is comparable to a fish dying of thirst in its natural environment.

On a larger part, the world depends on Africa for proper development, but where is Africa in the place of the gains? Statistically, the figures are heart rending.

The wealth of Africa’s natural endowments includes such resources that are classified under Rare Earth Elements (REEs) category and Namibia is not left behind on this list of “these blessed few.” Further statistics reveal Africa holding large reserves of Oil and Gas and other resources in the following order:

Gold – Africa contributes 21% of world output
Diamonds – about 46% of global production comes from Africa Botswana alone staking 22%, DRC following with 20% and the remaining 4% scattered among other producing nations on the Continent.
Copper – Africa holds 6% of world output
Africa produces 75% of the world’s platinum led by South Africa and closely followed by Zimbabwe.
For Aluminum, 5% of the world’s total output comes out of Africa. South Africa takes the Regional lead followed by Zimbabwe and Egypt.
Buxite – Africa supplies 8% of world output and that comes from Guinea whose iron ore is also acclaimed as among the world’s finest.

On the whole, the following define Africa’s standing: Uranium, Coal, Iron Ore, Tin, Phosphates, Gold, Molybdenum, Gypsum, Salt, Petroleum Phosphates, Manganese, Lead, Zinc, Fish, Titanium, Natural Gas, Hydropower, Tantalum, Graphite Diamonds, Copper, Silver, Lead, Lithium, Cadmium, Tungsten, Zinc, Salt, Cassiterite (Tin Ore), Wolframite (Tungsten Ore), Methane, Arable Land, Bauxite, Chromite, Gypsum, Nickel, Rare Earth Elements, Gem Diamonds, Vanadium, Asbestos, Coal, Clay, Forests, Quarry Stone, And Talc, Emeralds and a large unexploited reserves of different resources.

Unfortunately, under Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs), the attention of Investors focuses more on these natural recourses while successive administrations of the host Nations channel all their energies more on the same repeated circle of exports driven economy with little or no attention given to or plans made towards large-scale, home grown manufacturing or Industrial development capable of abundant job creation for poverty alleviation and its final eradication.

The question is: with all that we have as a people, sincerely should we be economically in the present position that we have now found ourselves today? No, definitely not. That we are here only confirms that something is seriously wrong and to correct the imbalance, we must clearly define what we truly want to achieve and follow through on the plan of action beyond mere words as has always been the practice as recorded in our historical accounts of past governments.

Namibia: Namibia boasts of such natural resources as diamonds, copper, uranium, gold, silver, lead, tin, lithium, cadmium, tungsten, zinc, salt, hydropower, fish and according to “The World Fact Book” on Field listing of Natural resources, there are also “suspected deposits of oil, coal, and iron ore” in Namibia.

The icing on the cake is this –Namibia has the highest reserves of Uranium, making this country #1 in Africa and 4th largest producer in the world, followed only by Niger as 2nd in Africa and 5th in the world. This standing does not suggest Namibia as a poor country, but the practical translation of this wealth or its reflection on the citizenry does not hold the reality. We should be doing better.

Vision of the Fathers: Your Excellency, our dear Nation, Namibia has suffered. It is no longer keenly needful to recount the woes and re-paint now again graphically, the gruesome picture of our mutilated fallen heroes and heroines who, propelled by their quest for Namibia’s true identity and the freedom of her sons and daughters, braved the odds and made major sacrifices in the battle for her soul.

Of these, the living minority are today, permanently “decorated” in brutal scars as their priceless trophies in the battle for the soul of our beloved country. Your good self are not unaware of those dark days when Namibia groaned under the yoke of bondage, shackled in poverty and plundered while her children famished like orphans. The vision of our fathers and the strength and courage they found to fight for Namibia’s release and the freedom of her children was fueled by the faith they had in this Nation’s tomorrow – a country of liberated people, freed from poverty to flourish in prosperity and sprawling Economic Development, capable of confronting and withstanding the modern global challenges. The tomorrow they saw that fueled their passion to fight, to suffer and to die is today.

Your Excellency, can you in all honesty say that Namibia’s present National Development and Economic Prosperity has in any way in the least justified the sacrifices of these noble men and women who gave their all for her liberty and prosperity of her sons and daughters? Is their sacrifice truly justified today?

Sounding the Empty Song: For Namibia, these woes and travails of the past are still far from over. Her freedom is only in the status of her personal identity as an entity, a sovereign Nation. Beyond this, the manacles of deprivation and hallmark of bondage are still evident upon her like an escaped convict who breaths the air of freedom while still enrobed in the prison garments.

The reflection of poverty and bondage still strongly gleams on our people thus, the efforts of all successive administrations, having done their very best to dress Namibia befittingly and present her to the world as a prosperous Nation have all fallen short, making all the promises they made prior to ascending to power seem like mere exercise of routinely sounding the empty Executive song.

In spite of their genuine efforts and good intentions, they left more promises behind than fulfilling them. These were good people who meant well for Namibia, but they all made the same mistake of looking in the wrong direction and going all alone on glory seeking quest, just to make a name in their effort to lift this Nation out of the ashes.

This great opportunity is now upon you, Cde. President, and your Administration to satisfy the yearnings of the Namibian people. We are here to support you and partner with you if you will accept our hand of partnership. We have what it takes and through a healthy collaboration, we can achieve all desired goals.

Objective: Your Excellency, the purpose of this letter is first of all to publicly declare to you my unreserved support for your developmental goal of Poverty eradication as I have also practically demonstrated in my efforts since returning to Namibia from America where I have lived for the past 26 years.

Secondly, this is my public call to the good people of Namibia to wholeheartedly join us in this war against poverty that you have declared, which is the only guaranteed economic liberation for our dear Nation.

I, Simon Kapenda, have no interest in politics; however, my entrepreneurial skills and your political position can blend into a formidable force against Poverty in Namibia.

The pains, the gains: I come from the background of knowing what pain and suffering means. I started my academic journey at Omunkete Combined School near Oshikuku in Northern Namibia. It was at the time when our dear Nation Namibia still groaned under the weight and pain of the infamous and dehumanizing apartheid regime of South Africa.

I saw the suffering of our people, I also feared greatly as the bullets of the KOEVOET zipped by over our head many times that I came close to extinction. I and my family escaped death many times during the apartheid era, but we were left with the permanent memory in our hearts and minds that became a constant yearning for freedom and liberation.

For me, it was not only liberation from the evil Regime of apartheid but from everything that wore the resemblance of enslavement – including poverty, deprivation, backwardness and every ills of life.

The pains and burdens of my heart gave me an even greater determination to race harder towards success, to be free and to achieve. When I proceeded to the United States of America in pursuit of higher Academic Excellence, I held at the core of all my endeavours the drive to master the skills and tactics of successful warfare against deprivation.

I graduated from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio USA in 2009 (BSc. Economics) with decent scores regardless of my personal hardship of working full-time as a small business owner while at the same I was studying full-time. I am currently pursuing my PhD program in Economics. My intern job at UBS Financial Services Inc in 2008 was a personal self-test run that I did as a field evaluation of my skills, training and personal development, which held out successfully when I made a mark as an Investment Analyst Intern at UBS Financial Services Inc in Columbus, Ohio the whole of twelve months of 2008. Impressed by my outstanding performance, UBS made me an offer of permanent employment as an Investment Analyst at its Wall Street offices with a mouthwatering salary plus bonuses of US$2.5 million per annum which I declined due to the idea I had to launch Groot Systems (formerly Groot Group) in the same year for the sole purpose of implementing Rapid Industrial and Economic Development of my beloved birth country Namibia, under our specially structured system which we call “Groot’s Advanced Industrial Ecosystem” (GAIE).

Our Industrial plan of action, GAEI, is based on careful research and conscious planning that takes into account the current global economic realities. On the ground here in Namibia and currently making appreciable progress are Groot’s six self-sustainable and interdependent mega projects with over 20 others in the pipeline awaiting their timely release to boost self-sustainability and complementary support to our running infrastructure.

Groot’s Advanced Industrial Ecosystem is a special infrastructural system of creating a holistic developmental framework that encourages multiple industrial units to grow as self-sustainable entities while at the same time fully interdependent, each serving as an integral part of the other and collectively unleashing a fast-paced massive economic ripple effect, resulting in a Large Scale job creation and Sustainable Economic Development.

Your Excellency, through God’s enablement and His Grace, my struggles to start and successfully develop and operate my small business in the USA since 1995 as well as pay my way through school paid off eventually and I had it all going for me in the United States where I still maintain my home in Beverly Hills, a suburb of Los Angeles, California.

Nevertheless, compelled by my love for the fatherland and the vision and the costly sacrifices of the fathers of Namibia for her greater tomorrow, it became my turn to give up my comfort so, I returned to contribute my quota to help take Namibia to her rightful place among the community of Nations. This is what I have continued to do since my arrival back into the country. Since 2010, Groot has worked tenaciously towards actualization of this dream. It is on this note that Your Excellency’s declaration of an all out War against Poverty and its eventual eradication by 2020 came as a long awaited welcome development.

At Groot, our support for your laudable program of War Against Poverty is only natural as this Developmental goal seamlessly aligns with our Groot vision.

Therefore, our support for this agenda is beyond moral as we have readily plunged into the mainstream and this we have done wholeheartedly. Over the years, we have holistically spent about N$25 million in planning, traveling, consultations, infrastructure, equipment and building of systems and always focusing on the vision of Industrial Development and Economic prosperity for Namibia. We have made tremendous sacrifices all in the effort that our pains may translate to the overall gains of the good people of Namibia, for our country, our people, our pride. We are doing all these at our cost.

Our Open Score Card: This is what our efforts have yielded so far since we started out.

Tses Glass: In 2012, we launched Tses Glass – a US$700 million mega Glass Infrastructure project development in Tses and the first of its kind in Africa. The immediate positive result as can be seen today in Tses is the instant transformation as Tses Village is poised to become a commercial nerve center in //Karas Region. According to Mr. Vries, then CEO of Tses Village Council, “Tses is now just full of people, it feels like an Industrial City.”

Tses Glass is structured out in two mega factories. Our Container Glass factory is dedicated to the manufacture of glass bottles, exotic wine glasses, berets, conical flasks measuring cylinders, scientific equipment of glass nature and every form of glassware designed to hold or contain.

The second Factory, our Float Glass Factory will manufacture glass for industrial needs like windows for housing, vehicles, optical glass for medical and other uses, photovoltaic (PV) for solar panels, ultra-thin glass for special purposes including but not limited to displays, computer or TV screens, cell phones, tablets, various mobile communication and hi-tech devices.

Under our Mandatory Strategic Orientation (MSO), 670 general construction workers for Tses Glass Factories are billed to complete their training and commence work fully on the Construction of Tses Glass Factories starting in early 2016. Beside the construction workers, a 300 member executive management team will lead the workforce into successful implementation of the Groot dream of Tses Glass in Tses.

All our workers and employees are paid the minimum wage of N$35 per hour, fed one meal per day and are entitled to medical facilities and other generous fringe benefits. We do this to aptly define poverty eradication in this practical introduction to improved lifestyle. In addition, we plan to provide 800 units of Prefab Houses for accommodation of our construction workers in Tses at the cost of more than N$154 million. All of this is done at our cost as our active contribution to the Nation building efforts of Government.

Tses Glass aims at driving the local economy and for the export market. When fully operational, Tses Glass will create 7,000 direct, better paying jobs and about 47,000 indirect jobs in Tses and throughout Namibia as our contribution to ending the unnecessary suffering of our people for a better Namibia.

Tses Wi-Fi: Many developmental ideas complementary to Tses Glass and the Transformation of Tses Village include a 30 kilometer radius coverage of high speed broad band free Internet access via Wi-Fi platform which will give free internet connectivity to anyone within 30km of Tses Village, delivered right on their Internet enabled mobile devices of any description. Relevant agreements have already been signed for the provision of this service. The provision of the free Internet services in Tses and Construction of 400 housing units by Groot Construction, which shall be donated to Tses Village, is our way of practically changing lives and giving back to society.

Tses Solar: Designed to be implemented under the Power Division of Groot Systems (Groot Power), the deployment of our 60MW Solar (PV) Power Plant in Tses will give a new lease of life and stable assurance of business operations in Tses. Manned by Groot Systems and partners, the N$500million mega 60MW Solar (PV) Power Plant in Tses will supply clean, safe and renewable electricity to Tses Glass factories and the Tses municipality.

Groot Construction: We envision Groot Construction (Pty) Ltd, the construction arm of Groot Systems to become a leading Namibian Civil Engineering and Construction Contractor known for its professionalism and high quality work throughout Namibia and beyond. Groot Construction is teaming up with a Philippines-based civil engineering company, to work under the Ukrainian general contractors and civil engineering companies for the construction of the Tses Glass factories. All our recruited 670 construction workers in Tses fall under Groot Construction as the local based company and its Ukrainian and The Philippines engineering partners. Groot Construction provides critical engineering and construction for infrastructure projects on a turnkey basis.

Groot Steel – Omutwewonime: In our continued quest to create value opportunities which guarantee food for our people, a roof over their heads and general improved living conditions, we focus on what holds greater advantages for us and our economy. Groot Steel is poised to employ over 800 construction workers, to start construction work on our Groot Steel 750 thousand Metric Tons Per Annum (750kMTPA) Minimill. Groot steel will produce semi-finished products like metal bars and rods which have a variety of Industrial uses including construction, automobile manufacturing, and in the production of appliances and other consumer products. Finished steel products produced from Groot’s mini mill will include rebar, wire rod, structural shapes, steel plate and steel sheets. This project holds the capacity for creating more than 2,600 direct, better paying jobs upon its commissioning. Groot Steel Minimill is sited in Omutwewonime (to become known as Onime Village).

Groot Silica in Ongwediva area: Groot Silica Sand factory is being set up for the sole purpose of producing large commercial quantities of silica sand for use in the glass, oil and gas industry and a wide range of industrial applications. Groot Silica is poised to become one of the world’s largest suppliers of silica sand with an annual production capacity of 1.5 million tons for the exclusive purpose of supplying silica sand to the Tses Glass factories and for export of the surplus production output to the world’s markets.

Presently, 950 permanent workers are undergoing the Mandatory Strategic Orientation (MSO) as a part of the 1, 500 permanent employees at the commissioning. In line with our tradition, we provide excellent working conditions for all our workers at Groot Silica with attractive minimum wage of N$35.00 per hour, full medical aid and lucrative fringe benefits which include transport and housing allowance. For more than 15 years from inception, Groot Silica contracted to supply Tses Glass with High quality Silica Sand as raw material for the manufacturing of Glass, Ceramic tiles, etc. This singular order is worth well over N$2.6 billion. There is a huge growing market and demand for Silica sand which puts Groot Silica in the center of the Economic Highway for lucrative profits.

Groot Chemicals in Odibo: At the end of January 2016, the recruitment of our 3,000 general construction workers for the construction of the Groot Chemicals factory to manufacture Urea, Ammonia, and NPK fertilizers in Odibo will commence. When completed, the Groot Chemicals factory would deliver high quality fertilizers to Namibia farmers and the SADC region. This is aimed at helping Namibia to boost agricultural production output and to enhance food security for the country. Groot Chemicals will create about 11,000 full-time manufacturing jobs to manufacture Urea, Ammonia, and NPK fertilizers in Odibo.

Groot Foods in Oikokola: Also tied to the of end of January 2016 timeline, at Oikokola, the Foods and Beverages division of Groot Systems – project owners of Groot Foods will recruit 1,500 general construction workers for the construction of the Groot Foods factory in Oikokola in Omusati Region. When commissioned, the Factory will develop, produce, package, and distribute different agricultural produce to the teeming consumers. The production and packaging of chilled and frozen food products will add value to the retail and wholesale market in Namibia, throughout Africa and beyond. The full operation of Groot Foods will generally ensure food security in Namibia and eradicate the negative trend of food insecurity and high cost of food stuff which is occasioned by continued importation of food supplies. When completed, Groot Foods factory will employ about 3,000 full-time production workers directly in Oikokola.

Groot Solar: The full deployment of Groot Silica and Tses Glass will usher in the needed time for the setting up of Groot Solar – a mega infrastructure designed to produce High Quality Solar Panels, solar Chargers, controllers, Solar Power systems for full deployment of clean, safe and renewable energy sources for local and export market. This will effectively and efficiently address the power challenges in Africa and boost small and medium scale power-driven businesses – from local hair dressers, barber shops, restaurants etc to medium size enterprises. Easy access to safe and renewable energy for domestic and industrial uses will definitely improve the quality of life. Groot solar will effectively create 3,000 direct, better paying jobs.

Grootrain: Grootrain makes its grand entry as Groot’s signature project – the flagship of all of Groot’s Industrial Developments and Grand premier deployment of the Transport Division of Groot Systems. Grootrain is a High Speed Passenger Rail Transport Service that is being developed to inter-connect Sub-Sahara and North East Africa and further link up South Africa through in-between connected Nations of South West, Central and Eastern Economic Blocs. Grootrain is coming as the long awaited realistic solution to the nagging question of efficient transportation in Africa.

While Grootrain poised to offer the convenience of easy access to fast, safe, efficient and affordable transport, Grootrain not only encourages freedom of movement for business, education and pleasure, but we also contribute a significant quota towards improved lifestyle, family stability, healthier living by drastically reducing unemployment through the creation of well over 50,000 direct and better paying jobs by 2020 in Namibia alone and more than 5 million direct jobs and not less than 20 million indirect fully functional jobs at full deployment all over Africa.

Groot Systems observes a zero discrimination policy in all our employment exercises.

Westerville: Our latest addition to Groot’s Strategic approach in Advanced Industrial Ecosystem and Rapid Economic development came by our latest acquisition of a private farm land near Windhoek for the creation of a modern upscale town designed for over 3,500 residential homes and light industries just 20km West of Windhoek.

Westerville Residential: Residential options at Westerville will cater for all life stages from young professionals to families and retirees:

• Approximately 2000 resort style apartments including 500 townhouses and 500 City Centre style apartments ranging from bachelor, one bedroom, two bedroom and penthouses.
• 1000 cluster homes
• 1000 freehold houses situated on 800m² to 1400m² stands and 120 retirement village units
• Upon full development, Westerville’s show village will comprise of 200 Resort-Style-Living apartments, 10 cluster homes and 10 freehold show houses.

Westerville City Center:
• Westerville’s City Business Center will include 5000m2 of retail space including convenience shops.
• A residential component consisting of approximately 500 apartments featuring eleven different configurations of one to three bedroom units and penthouses.
• A super basement housing more than 1 000 parking bays will be hidden beneath the city center.
• The City Center will center on a large park/piazza with other green areas located next to each apartment complex.

By lowest figures, the draft summary of our current realistic direct job creation/employment scale by 2020 shows:

Tses Glass – 7,000
Groot Steel – 2,500
Groot Silica – 1,600
Groot Solar – 3,000
Groot Foods – 1,500
Groot Chemicals – 11,000
Grootrain – above 50,000

A total of almost 80,000 direct better paying jobs and well over 200,000 indirect jobs created just for a start!

Your Excellency, the current global economic realities show a downward trend in industrial growth and full-scale sustainability worldwide with poor Nations taking the worst hit. Companies are fast downsizing with the resultant effect of more and more breadwinners of families being thrown back on the job market with a bleak future for a stable means of livelihood. However, in the middle of all of these, Groot Systems amazingly enjoys a level of Grace upon her efforts so that we are thriving impressively in spite of the present challenges.

Therefore, the earlier your administration takes this advantage and openly accepts our hand of partnership for the good of Namibia, the better and easier will it be for us to speedily implement our marshalled out plans towards our country’s development and faster actualization of Groot’s vision which resonates with your administration’s agenda of poverty eradication by 2020.

The easiest way forward: The doors of Economic Development and sustainable growth swing on the hinges of Public Private Partnership (PPP) where the government plays its role of ensuring open door policies and a friendly regulatory framework that encourages easy access to Government’s support and official Governmental backing for ease of Economic development and timely implementation of initiatives that help Government’s developmental Agenda.

Thus, such healthy collaborations not only lighten the burden of the Government in the cause of execution of its planned goals but also ensures the timely delivery on the promises tagged on it’s democratic mandate. An old African proverb says “to go fast, you go alone but to go far, we go together.”

Your Excellency, the band of African leaders from time has been the wrong choice of going all alone. Unfortunately, no one of them ever goes far in terms of accomplishments, delivery on their promises to the people and the democratic mandate of improved living conditions. Other than the length of years that they cling to the seat of power, there is hardly any outstanding deed that triggers a remembrance of their Administrations among their people.

Cde. President, every truly selfless, fore-sighted and visionary leader who takes a people-oriented posture and is both passionate for good governance and who decisively embraces the consciousness of the people’s collective mandate, would doubtless accept the hand of friendship and partnership of any notable personality or group in the private sector, who has proven his/it’s worth as a truly dependable ally in the pursuit of Democratic dividends with no further delays.

On the contrary, it proves an unhealthy situation and a resultant negative impact on Government’s laudable programs, obscuration of her good intentions/efforts and diminution of their tangible impact eventually on the citizenry, when the willing private sector is denied the needed support from government to deliver on these collective interests.

The challenges of attracting foreign participation in developmental concepts in Africa are numerous. These range from internal conflicts, security issues lack of transparency and accountability etc, but the biggest challenge is always that of distrust. However, some enterprising industrialists and visionary players are always ready to take on the investment opportunities in Africa where this distrust is removed. Where interest of Governments in such developmental efforts is evident, the confidence of investors and partners is restored and development and investments are encouraged.

Your Excellency, this is where you come in directly. We can cut back drastically on the timelines when you show proof that you are behind our developmental plans for Namibia.

Your Excellency, remember that we have done our best to keep you informed officially from our offices, of the progress made on the projects we are doing in the country. We submitted documents to your office in August 2015 as our foreign technical partners needed the assurance that the Government of Namibia is in support of our developmental plans. This, assurance is the only guarantee they can bank on that Government policies will not broker the loss of their investments in Namibia, but we are yet to hear from you His Excellency.

Cde. President, we have given a good account of our selves over these years. We have proven our good intentions for the development of Namibia and the future of generations ahead of us. We are not asking the Government of Namibia to give us money to do what we have planned to do; we will raise the money we need ourselves. We know what to do, but our partners who have the needed technology and know-how for the change we want to bring to Namibia – they need this assurance that their efforts will not be wasted or terminated half-way by Government policies.

His Excellency, all we need for you to do is simply give us your official blessing, so that we can cut back on the timelines, then all our foreign partners and others will gladly and readily come in without doubts or trembling hearts.

Our goals are not against your goals, rather they support 100% your desire to end poverty in Namibia so, why would it be difficult for you to publicly say “Yes, what Groot is doing is good for Namibia”? This is all we need, this is the only assurance that our partners want to have – no additional costs. Help us to help you realize your vision to eradicate poverty in Namibia by 2020.

The people of Namibia need good paying jobs that we know how to create and we have proven this by what we are doing so far. Take our hand of partnership and together, we can birth the Namibia that our visionary fathers saw years ago.

Cde. President, give posterity the chance to remember that it was during the vibrant Administrative leadership of His Excellency President Dr. Hage Geingob that Namibia came out of the economic woods. Let the future generations read from recorded accounts that Namibia also joined the class of the First World when President Geingob was in Power. Give the children of the next generations the surprise of reading and knowing that a President Hage Geingob caused the Nation of Namibia the loss of memory of her pains and blinded Namibia from seeing the scars inflicted by the oppressive regime of poverty she endured.

Your official blessing – this, Your Excellency, is all we ask of you. This is for our people, this is for our future. This is for Namibia.

This is what will happen with your official blessing – an open endorsement of what we are doing – POSITIVE: It will build confidence in our partners and many interested Foreign Investors to come in to Namibia to boost her Economic Development.

Industrial Boom – Several industries will run at the same time, create multiple jobs, shorten your goal of eradicating poverty by 2020 timeline. It will be easy for us to bring in developers and investors in Namibia’s untapped resources.

Here is what will happen when you refuse our hand of partnership – the disadvantages – NEGATIVE: At Groot, we will do what we are doing to help develop Namibia and we will succeed, but it will take longer. The Namibian people will wait longer without jobs, under yoke of unemployment, burden of poverty and more children failing out of school.

Foreign Investors will continue to shy away from coming in from lack of confidence due to fear of uncertainties. Vision 2030 and your goal of 2020 may not happen timely. Namibians will wait longer for needed basics/social amenities, quality education, health care services etc, etc.

His Excellency, this is sincerely thanking you in advance for your kind consideration and prompt action on these ultimate necessities.

Accept my kindest Regards,

Simon Kapenda, Founder and CEO
Groot Management Systems (Pty) Ltd
Windhoek, Namibia

Mobile: +264-81-250-9027
Email: simon@grootgroup.com
Web: grootgroup.com
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Groot Systems is a global leading infrastructure company focusing on developing self-sustained advanced industrial ecosystems for the slow growing economies.

Where are the Black-owned Engineering Firms for Industrial Ecosystems Development in Namibia?

We’re just coming from our intense technical planning for both @Groot Steel and @Tses Glass, with our Local Project Management team, and I feel really sad; I’m so sad that, as we put in so many hours developing these projects each day, hoping that in the end, we’re helping to economically empower those who have been left out by the wave of lucrative opportunities in Namibia, it’s very sad that in our technical team of engineers, many local partner companies involved, that there’s no single black-owned or operated firm offering technical expertise for these projects, and only white-owned. And this is so sad. It’s just too sad, that money paying for these technical services is flowing from one already-wealthy hand to more other already wealthy hands.

It’s sad that it seems like more black people in Namibia or rather Africa at large, tend to rather more focus on short term goals instead of investing their time and energy in long term visions, such as; projects like these are all for long terms; ranging from 2 to 5 years of just technical planning prior to getting any capital return from them, but black people don’t seem to be interested in that, they seem to be more interested only in such as shebeen business, where you plan and build it today, and tomorrow you’re getting your small change back.

But if it’s like this, then how can an economy can actually develop and prosper? Setting up and building cuca-shops, kapanas, mini-markets, retail stores, lodges, guesthouses, shebeens, shopping malls, etc are not the way to develop an economy. All of these are services which offer no real value; no value-added, no nothing except that you set them up fast just to close them down even fastest if things don’t go as expected possibly due to the severe competition (crowded market), and that these types of service businesses don’t offer sustainable good paying jobs, to the point that the workers themselves who work in these places can actually afford to buy from these services where they themselves work.

Manufacturing jobs offer the best economic value for the workers to support their families, communities, and the country. Setting up manufacturing factories such as steel mills, glass factories, power plants, and other infrastructure projects generally serve as the backbones of economies in the world, everywhere.

Setting up barbershops and street corner shebeens etc offer nothing, not even in the short term, but add more misery (governments must offer more social welfare programs) and poverty to the economy (poorly paid people don’t pay adequate tax to support offered governments’ social welfare programs).

I feel sad that, in a country like Namibia which is in Africa, that only more white companies are involved in offering technical expertise and planning which involves millions of dollars for their services.

Oh, my people, my Africans, when can we move away from the short-sighted goals and look at the furthest years to come; such as planning for the next 25-50 years from now? How can we really make Africa become economically successful, and make it no more politically focused and oriented? A politically focused and oriented Africa will keep seeing more people living in dire poverty, more families living in misery, more people dying, more governments looking for international donors’ bailout, more people living not according to their dreams and wishes but because of rather purposely designed social circumstances.

It’s just sad, too sad.

Could Namibia Experience a Shortage of Workers?

The news article in Yahoo News today about a job creation effect in Ohio by the US Auto Industries shows that they are using a factor of 15.0 to measure their direct and indirect job creation effects, while I use a more modest, which is 5.0, as an average for the Namibia market.

That means, if 54,200 direct jobs in Ohio were created as a result of the auto manufacturers in Ohio, then as the articles shows, the indirect jobs are 850,000; meaning that per each 1 job created, 15 indirect job opportunities are created.

For me, I use a factor or 5, meaning that per each 1 direct job created, then 5 more indirect jobs are created. This is more modest and conservative in lieu of the Namibian mentality (always questioning if this or that is possible), but I don’t deem my factor to be the preferred perfect one.

But if I use a factor of 15, then Tses Glass as it’s estimated to create 47,900 direct jobs in Tses alone, then 718,500 indirect job opportunities will be created throughout Namibia as a result of the Tses Glass factory in Tses, and Otavi Steel as it’s estimated to employ 25,000 direct jobs in Otavi, then the indirect job opportunities in Namibia to be created from the Otavi Steel mill is 375,000.

For a total of about 1.1 million new direct and indirect job opportunities throughout Namibia to be created as a result of just two industrial projects; Otavi Steel and Tses Glass.

However, the Namibia’s workforce is only about 729,000; and if 15 is the factor to be used for the direct and indirect jobs’ creation effects, then Namibia is expected to experience a huge shortage of workforce when these two projects are commissioned at full capacity.

This shortage of the workforce could have a possible “cause-and-effect” trigger;- an exponential high rise in salary and wages compensation throughout Namibia, but with a sudden high inflationary pressure in Namibia.

Yes, Rome was not built overnight, so don’t expect these two industrial projects to be realized overnight, good things take time to develop and implement; as there are several factors to be done; planning, technical issues, politics, etc., before bricks are laid down and the ignition button can be pressed for the production starting of the factories.

We’re working!

Developing Rural Namibia: How to Develop an Economic Depressed Rural Area Into a Thriving Economic Urban Center?

I realize that most city, town and village councils in Namibia may not really know how to actually attract and keep industrial businesses in their areas.

Rather, they tend to wait on the central government to direct them and basically mouth-feed them by attracting and getting investment on their behalf for their areas. And this is not how it works, hence most cities, towns and villages in urban and rural Namibia are facing high economic hardship and pressure for their municipalities and residents.

I have written about this before, on how a town or village can help attract an investment to its area; and in short, here is how it may happen;

Let’s say for example, Oikokola in Omusati Region wants to attract BMW in Germany to come and setup a manufacturing factory in Oikokola. Because the Oikokola village council knows exactly the massive socio-economic benefits rippling throughout the country just by having one BMW manufacturing plant in their area; that’s – one BMW Manufacturing Plant, let’s say employing more than 1500 people, can help effect a massive economic ecosystem in the same area; because out of that 1500 employees, there could be more than 7500 indirect employees.

How’s that? Based on my “Job Multiplier Effect Model”, which is based on my economic differentiation and derivative formulation, that’s per each “one” direct employee, “five” more indirect employment opportunities are created. So, just by having more than 9,000+ employees (1500+7500) in Oikokola; don’t forget that possibly per each employee could have 3 additional family members in his or her household, and that makes Oikokola to have more than 27,000 new residents, as a result of just one BMW Manufacturing Plant, that nearly makes Oikokola to become a major town with great and profitable socio-economic benefits that would ripple throughout the entire economy of the country.

Because the Oikokola town council has done its economic analysis on having such a Manufacturing Plant in its area, it serves best to have the Oikokola Village Council to select a team of delegates among its staff, and send them to BMW in Germany.

When they get there, they would have already prepared two first class-return flights for two BMW Executives, from Germany to Namibia, then they would also have prepared a first-class ground transportation to and from Windhoek to Oikokola, with first class hotel accommodation as well as lodging (food).

When they get to BMW in Germany, they would hold their meeting with the BMW executives; obviously they should have already made arrangement to meet with those executives responsible for international business development at BMW prior to going there. A the meeting, after their brief introductory summary, then they simply inform the BMW executives that, they have everything prepared; first class flight to and back from Namibia, ground transportation, food etc., so that they simply board the flight and come to Namibia.

Now, since everything is already prepared, and BMW or their executives don’t have to incur any expenses; they would be gladly interested in taking the trip; most executives would regard the trip as a vacation and would love it.

Obviously, it would not be on the same day; the village council would want to have an ample time before the BMW executives arrive in Namibia. So the village council should first go back to Oikokola and inform their local officials and residents that on that specific date, there would be special guests from BMW in Germany to come and visit the area for a possible investment project, that could help create jobs for the residents and improve economic condition of the area.

Then when that date comes; everyone should be ready to welcome the guests; with well-organized joyous celebrations, food, and orchestrated dances, and everything, so that the first thing that those BMW executives would see, would be happy faces of people excited to see them and welcome them. That by itself would likely make the BMW executives very excited just the fact that the locals are excited to see them.

Then the village council after they have officially welcomed them, then they take them to a meeting conference and make a presentation on what their area has to offer, in terms of available land, economic incentives, labor, and capital that would be of great benefit to BMW to have a manufacturing plant set up in the Oikokola area. In the presentation, it should include everything else; such as tax benefits that would entice BMW to come to Oikokola to setup a manufacturing plant.

After the presentation, then the village council should take the executives on a special tour for the area; show them around the area, and then take them to the land that the village council has allocated for the BMW Manufacturing Plant.

At that land site; the village council should entice the executives with eloquent talk and discussion and try to close the deal with them without being forceful, to have BMW setup a manufacturing plant there. Because of how everything are organized, BMW could possibly agree to set up a Manufacturing Plant there for the BMW automobiles, car parts, engines, or perhaps recommend their partners to do so. This is how town, village or city councils should do, to try to attract investment projects to their areas.

However, it only works best if the Council members actually know what to do; what investment is suitable for their area, as each area has its own comparative advantages; where to start, who to contact and how to actually do it to get the needed appointment with the company, anywhere in the world. And it doesn’t have to be BMW, it can be any company in the world, depends on what your area has to offer.

This is where we at Groot Group come in – we know how to do this; from conducting economic analysis for any area, and we are very connected globally to most of the world’s largest companies. Hence it has great benefits to work with us in order to help develop your village, town or city by bringing investment and industrial projects to your area that would forever help transform your area; for your residents, for the sake of the overall country’s economic growth. Because as an elected council member, you have responsibilities to your constituents; hence get up and do something real tangible to help grow your area – overall, you’re interested in getting re-elected or be appointed to a high post some day.

The above is just an example on how you may possibly attract investment projects to your area; however in reality – for the sake of Oikokola, a rural area in Omusati Region, we at Groot Group and SDS Group, have a team arriving from India for our Sitentu Food Processing Plant development in Oikokola and Nkurenkuru.

And given that Oikokola is currently just a rural area with basically nothing except the current residents and no nothing else; watch as we transform it from its current status to a major urban center within the next 5 years.

Our planned Sitentu Food Processing Plant in Oikokola (likewise Nkurenkuru) will employ 3,000+ workers at each location, with indirect employees of more than 7,500. Those workers will need proper housing for their stay, they will need retail stores for their everyday shopping need, Oshakati is too far for them, they will need clinics, barbershops, etc., basically they will need all the basic infrastructure as required for their well-being and better living, and obviously, we will depend on entrepreneurs to set up those businesses and services for the future workers of Oikokola and likewise, Nkurenkuru.

Why Oikokola and Nkurenkuru? We are targeting both the rural Namibian and rural Angolan informal farmers to benefit from their hard farm labor. This is the economic transformation vision of our Company; creating powerful economic linkages between rural and urban centers.

Smart working and planning, with the support of the local, regional and central government can have great positive economic impacts for an improved living condition of the people in the economy (country).

I want and hope to make Namibia as a spring platform for economic transformation for the whole of Africa. It’s time for Africa to improve her economy to benefit her people. Political economy is long dead, the future is rapid industrialization based on the Groot Group Economic Ecosystem Model.

Email me at simon@grootgroup.com with questions on how we can help you get the most investment project for your area.

I’m a Neuroeconomist and Entrepreneur; CEO and Co-Founder of Groot Group at www.grootgroup.com; as well as Managing-Director and Co-Founder of Tses Glass (Pty) Ltd, as well as Co-Founder and Project Director of Otavi Steel (Pty) Ltd, and Sitentu Power Plant (Pty) Ltd. I’m a Nominee of the Prestigious 2012 Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship.

Africa’s Rapid Industrialization Begins in Namibia by Groot Group

The first time of doing something, anything anywhere, is always the hardest; but once you do it a few times, either successfully well or not, it gets easier with time, every time.

As Chief Economist, and now CEO of Groot Group, as well as Project Director for most of our industrial projects, I’ve learned a lot by dealing with certain things, either socially or politically, in Namibia in terms of developing Groot, Otavi Steel, and Sitentu Power Plant; but with our recently unveiled Tses Glass Manufacturing Plant, this is now happening fastest and easiest than any other.

Our achieved success from doing the Sitentu Power Plant and then the Otavi Steel Mill has made it easier for doing all of our other projects; and in addition, many of the world’s largest and leading companies from around the world have lined up and continue to line for our projects.

It’s now easier for us to plan and execute any industrial project and within less than 48 hours, we have a complete team in place, ready to take on the project; companies from the USA, South Africa, Europe and Asia, such as a team from South Africa’s largest, The Dickson Group and Germany’s largest Horn Glass Industries, will arrive in Namibia in coming days. A team from the US and another team from Cognex in France will also arrive in Namibia in early August for Tses Glass. More companies based in Germany, Northern Ireland, Russia, Italy, Israel, India, etc., are scheduling to come to Namibia for our Tses Glass Manufacturing Plant.

This fast approach for the development of Tses Glass is making it ready for the construction to begin next year in May, nearly at the same time as Otavi Steel, which starts in April next year.

We understand that Europe is currently in dire financial crisis, so as the US economy is also in the stagnant mode, and the US and European companies are shifting their profit yearning to the market where they deem lucrative, and Namibia, because of our Group’s initiatives, is at the forefront for them. In return, Namibia as a country and the Namibian people will enormously and exponentially benefit from these industrial projects’ development.

Just by combining the Otavi Steel Mill and Tses Glass Plant’s indirect employment creation opportunities in Namibia, about 260,000 permanent indirect jobs, just from these two projects, will be created in Namibia alone. But how did we get this number? Otavi Steel’s direct employment is about 23,500 and for Tses Glass is about 27,900. By adding those numbers together and multiply them by a factor of 5 (based on the fact that each 1 direct employment created generates about 5 indirect job opportunities), then you get 257,000 indirect job opportunities created just from two industrial projects in Namibia. And that will help reduce Namibia’s current unemployment rate of about 54% to about 21% within just the first few years of commissioning these two industrial projects.

For Namibia to realize Vision 2030 on time, and this is a fact that a “big rock” must be thrust into the Namibian economy by no later than 2018. And this “big rock” must be so huge that it will create long-lasting ripple effects to exponentially boost Namibia’s aggregate economy in full fast growth speed, but without jolting an inflationary pressure. And these two industrial projects; Tses Glass and Otavi Steel, as complemented by Sitentu Power Plant are part of this “big rock”.

On a macroeconomic impact level, just nearly as it’s expected in Otavi, so as it will happen in Tses. Currently, Tses is a small village with a small sparsely population of about 2500. However, as Tses Glass will require more than 27,900 direct workers, more and more Namibians are expected to flock to Tses in search of better paying jobs. As a results, Tses will need no less than 20,000 new homes. Taking at least 4 persons per each household, that will boost the Tses population to more than 80,000 within 4 years. And for this reason, Tses needs to develop at least 5 new suburbs with each suburb to be composed of at least 5,000 new homes. As these new suburbs are developed, there will be a need for clinics, retail stores, gas services (right now there’s only one small gas service which operates at certain hours of each day), barber shops, hospitals, colleges, schools, etc., in order to serve the expected fast rising residents of Tses.

Currently, Namibia’s population is mostly centralized; mostly in a few major cities and towns such as Windhoek, Walvisbay, Oshakati, and Swakopmund. The municipalities of these towns can barely keep up with the providing of basic services such as water, electricity and sewage to their residents. More and more shanty towns in these cities and towns around Namibia are mushrooming up exponentially as more Namibians are moving from the rural to urban centers in search of work.

And, as these towns, Otavi, Tses, etc., boost the demand for employment opportunities caused by our industrial projects, then some people in other areas as stated above are poised to migrate to these areas of Tses and Otavi in search of work. Hence the fastest and efficient cause of a population decentralization in Namibia in a relative short period of time.

Well, this is obvious that, as more Namibians get better and find better paying jobs, more will no longer be housed in shack houses with cold and heat temperature. Certainly, the cold and heat weather are some of the major contributing factors to many of today’s chronicle diseases that affect most of the Namibian people. But, as more and more people have better paying jobs, they will have access to better housing with good water, electricity and sewage; hence the reduction in unnecessary sickness, which currently impose high-rise in healthcare costs to the government. Then Namibia is poised to experience a lower death rate, but more healthy births; hence a fast but healthy growing population.

For Swaziland, we are currently to develop a 1200 MW Coal Power Plant in Swaziland, and for Zimbabwe, we have an industrial project idea that, if developed, could turn around the Zimbabwean economy and make it a first world country (developed economy) within just 8 years. Hence the Zimbabwean government needs to contact us quickly for the implementation of this awesome project that will exponentially boost its economy and help create long-lasting socioeconomic benefits for the Zimbabwean people.

Zimbabwe, please contact me now at my email at simon@grootgroup.com. Let’s get to work and make the Zimbabwean economy more beautiful.

Feel free to download and view our Groot Group Corporate Brochure with detailed approach to our Industrial Ecosystem Model.

ANC Making a Big Mistake by Expelling Julius Malema

This is a very sensitive issue and I believe the ANC is making a huge mistake if it expels Julius Malema from the ANC Party.

It’s a known fact by nearly everyone that the Youths in Africa are the most vulnerable in terms of employment, skills development, and access to socio-economic programs; and each ruling party anywhere in Africa should embrace at all costs to making sure that the Youths are well cared for. Because if you look at the age median of the political spectrum today in Africa; the majority of the voters are the youths, and I am referring to those who were born after 1990. They don’t know anything first-hand about apartheid or colonization, except what they read in history books and hear mythical stories as told by their parents and friends in the streets.

The youths today don’t care about what happened during the apartheid era or colonization; they only care about their cellphones, laptops, cars, tablet devices, connecting to the Web; in short, they only care about money; and I mean “hard cash” and nothing else. Hence any ruling party that doesn’t cater to providing the youths in their country with the much needed resources to put hard cash in their pockets, then that ruling party is doomed and is risking losing the next or next-to-next general election.

As for the ANC, it needs to realize that Julius Malema, regardless of his hard rhetoric and militant tenor, he’s more influential and more powerful than the ANC itself (consider the Hip-Hop group, Public Enermy, in the 80’s and early 90’s, do you know what happened during that time to the US cities of Los Angeles, New York City, Atlanta, etc. with their militant song; “Fight the Power”?), meaning that if he gets expelled from the ANC, that he’s more than able and capable of creating his own political party and be able to raise enough funds to easily win the next South African Presidential election.

Now, before you say “no” he can’t do that, then look at South African youths; the majority of them are blacks and are unemployed or underemployed and if Malema can put together a powerful and experienced Advisory Committee to court and guide him, so that he can tone down his militant rhetoric and embrace a more softer but still hard-toned down tenor that directly addresses the issues that the South African Youths are facing daily, then this will coin him and guarantee him to win the next South African Presidential Election.

Now, instead for the ANC to expel him, it should consider offering him and putting him in a “Strategic Position” within the ANC Party that will cater to pulling and attracting the angry South African Youths to the ANC Party, and then try to address their issues collectively. However, if they expel him from the ANC Party, because he has criticized President Jacob Zuma, then they are risking losing the next Presidential Election, because the Youths will likely follow him to whatever party he goes.

And in general, African Presidents need to get used to being ridiculed and criticized; this is democracy. Constituencies must have the rights to air their views on the President’s job performances. Criticism and being ridiculed don’t mean disrespectful, it simply implying an unsatisfactorily sentiments due to the President’s job precipitation.

The world has changed; everything in it has changed; politics and business as usual have changed; it’s not the same old principled theories any more. And every leader anywhere should embrace this change; which is the new age of interacted, and a more connected global economy. Political economy no longer has roots; it’s meaningless. Economic transformation is the next wave for Africa’s industrialization as fueled by the passion for Africans to live like other humans elsewhere in the world.

Socialism, Communism, Fascism, etc are dead, even the Soviet Union (USSR) doesn’t exist any more, capitalism has seen its transformation change and chanllenge since The 2008 Great Recession. Now it’s the market-driven-economy which rules and controls this wind of a new change; a world of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, iPhone, and more. These platforms have completely revolutionized how things work and are done today; both in politics, business, entertainment, science, and everything else.

The global information in which we live now is on everyone’s fingertips. We are now more connected, more smarter, more informed, more vocal, and more open. The print news media are no longer relevant. Their relevancy only for confirmation of the reported news.

This new global change needs and must be understood and accepted by African leaders who still practice and focus on the old politics, the politics of old dogs fighting for old bones.

This new change needs to ring clear and loud within every ruling party especially in Africa; that the Youths at all costs “must come first”. Because any country that overlooks or underestimates its youths is directly or indirectly doomed to have political fallout and economic demise. And the ANC must consider reinstating Malema right away and find a common goal to best work and reason with him, if they want to win the next Presidential Election.

If ANC expels Julius Malema today, expect a huge political backlash against the ANC Party.

(I wrote this unbiased opinion as an Analyst, not a politician. I hate politics. And, no I am not a supporter of Julius Malema, I think he’s a joke, but I respect him as a human being).

Why Are Some White Namibians Angry at the Development of Groot?

Gosh, I can’t wait to be back in Namibia. I’m so tired!

Here is the strange thing though; the development of Groot is causing to make some enemies for me within Namibia, while earning high praises outside Africa. Why?

Some black Namibians just have no clue what is or how things are done, and until they see something standing there already, then they are happy but they still have to find some other things to complain. They don’t become the process, instead they stand on the side line with a bottle of Windhoek Lager on one hand while pointing out the wrong things with the other hand, instead of putting down the bottle and get in the process to help make things right; which eventually will help their communities and the country at large.

On the side of the white Namibians, it’s obvious that the large portion of the Namibian economy is still controlled by the whites since the Apartheid era. White Namibians still own most of the larger businesses in Namibia, hence they control most of the Namibian economy. While the blacks are crying foul over the BEE, because they want to be handed things on the silver platter without ever working hard for them.

How can you ever learn how to successfully make it in life, in your life; 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, most of the time you are drunk? You get up in the morning, get to work, spend the whole day barely holding on at work, and your boss dare not saying anything to you about your low productivity.

And then after work, you walk to the nearest and famous Kambashu (informal liquor place) to drink your head off; and get home late, and when the kids cry of hunger since you drink up the money, then you wanna beat up your wife. Yes, that’s part of the story for some of the Namibians. No time for self-development so you can improve yourself so that one day you can start and grow your own business.

All in all, who ever controls the majority of the cash flow in the country, controls the economy. Thus the White Namibians control the economy.

But, most of the white Namibians are not really happy about the development of Groot, because of the way it’s. Groot will make them change the way they normally do their business, it will change the way they do things; meaning that they will have to pay more salaries and offer better fringe benefits for their workers than what they normally do now (the law of supply and demand), and if they don’t do so, then the black workers will be able to go elsewhere where they will get better paying jobs.

Furthermore, Groot will bring in more foreign companies, and that’s the competition that the majority of the White Namibians are afraid of; as this will be taking away their beef; digging into their cash cow. So, for them to survive, they will have to beef up their production output, improve services, and product offerings in order to par up with the competition, if not, then they will be out of business.

Basically the entire Groot development will change the entire face of the Namibian economy, which in general is good for the country; consumers, businesses and the government, because it will bring efficiency and responsibility within the Namibian marketplace.

And those that will be really short affected will be the white Namibian business owners because then they will have to change how they do things in Namibia, and that’s more like disrupting their comfort zone of money making pit; which they have been enjoying for many years.

Overall, competition is good for the economy; for an improved customer service, products, prices, and overall; a better developed and more lean country.