Namibia, the Next Best Hub for the Medical Tourism?

The NEXT best thing that could happen to the Namibian economy to benefit the Namibian people is; Medical Tourism.

“Medical Tourism or health tourism is the travel of people to another country for the purpose of obtaining medical treatment in that country.” This is a multi-billion dollar industry, and India, South Africa, Cuba, the US, etc., are some of the world’s leading destinations for medical tourism. (More about Medical Tourism at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_tourism).

Namibia, as one of the most peaceful, stable, fast growing economies, and democratic countries in the world, can benefit tremendously if Namibia could focus and invest in building some of the finest medical centers equipped with the world’s best medical technology and staffed with the world’s best medical personnel (can hire foreign doctors in the mean time, while training Namibians) to offer the best medical treatment at the most affordable offerings.

By doing so, Namibia could attract foreign medical tourists from all across Africa and the world, who would travel to Namibia to seek medical treatment. These medical patients generally spend thousands of dollars in medical treatments, lodging and food as well as shopping. All of which, is direct cash to flow into the Namibian economy, and at the same time, it further creates thousands of direct and indirect employment opportunities for the Namibian people.

This post, I hope it can get your attention, to trigger your investment curiosity to invest in setting up the world’s leading medical centers in Namibia, a country on an African continent with a fast growing population of over one billion people. A country which, through Walvisbay, is the Gateway to the world’s largest shopping mall, the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), with a population of over 400 million and a GDP of over US$700 billion. A community, the richest trading community in Africa, which holds more than 30% of the world’s richest natural resources.

Namibia as a peaceful, most stable, democratic country, with one of the fast growing economies, ranked by Forbes and Bloomberg as the #1 top emerging economy in Africa, and ranked by The New York Times as one of the top ten best destinations in the world in 2014, it’s a hub for fishing, mining, tourism, shopping, and entertainment with its vast Namib desert, the world’s best and oldest desert, which is unlike anything else, where this desert meets the Atlantic Ocean, thrusting the world’s most incredible natural beauty.

Namibia is a great place for your medical tourism investment, the country has some of the best favorable conditions and institutions conducive for entrepreneurship and business environment.

When thinking about medical tourism, think about Namibia. Namibia is open for business. It’s your gateway to SADC, the world’s largest shopping mall.

Visit and contact us at Groot Group to learn more about how to invest in Namibia.

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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.

Recently Announced Namibia’s Unemployment Rate at 27% is Flaw, the Real Unemployment Rate is 54%

I’m an Economist, specialized in Macroeconomics, Econometrics, Predictive Analysis, and Economic Development. I obtained my BSc in Economics from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio USA, and I’m currently studying for my PhD in Economics.

The Namibian Statistics Agency recently announced that the unemployment rate in Namibia now stands at 27.4%, which is a whopping drop from the 2008’s estimate unemployment rate of 51%.

First of all, this is impractical for an unemployment rate of any economy anywhere in the world to drop by 23.6% within about 4 years without an economy experiencing a major rapid shock (boost or drop), especially since Namibia’s economic growth has been linear over the years with an average steady growth of about 4%.

In short, unless the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) has included those Namibian workers who earn less than N$800 a month, who cannot be and should never be counted as employed since their wages cannot meet their daily living cost, and unless the NSA has included those who have given up looking for work due to the fact that they may have perhaps setup their own shebeens, street-corner makeshift tents to sell candies, and Kapana, who cannot and should never be included as employed due to the fact that their earnings cannot even afford them to pay for their living costs.

Hence, the unemployment rate recently released by NSA is wrong, flaw, and very inaccurate. The real unemployment rate in Namibia is more than 54%.

While else remains constant, numbers cannot lie!

MIT Provosts Stealing Our Groot Industrial Ecosystems Idea?

MIT provost Martin Schmidt and a group of MIT faculty members may be got hold of our documents through our Scientist, Robbie Jena, Co-founder and Chief Strategist of Groot Group, and now they are using our documents at MIT stating how America can rebuild and re-industrialize its economy for better employment creation and sustainability, but they are not giving us credit for it.

It was around June 2009, right after I graduated from The Ohio State University, I was invited by Liberia’s former finance minister, Mr. Braim, at his house in Columbus, Ohio to brainstorm with him on how to help develop and grow Liberia’s economy after many years of civil unrest.

After listening to him and his son, Samuel Braima, my then classmate at The Ohio State University, I informed the ex-finance minister that the better way to help rapidly develop Liberia’s economy, was to setup and develop an economic ecosystem on a certain island, off of the coast of Liberia.

We discussed further how we could go about doing it, and his next step was to go meet with Liberia’s President in order to get her blessing and start with the project, a rapid industrial ecosystem.

In August 2009, I met up with Robert Grier in Columbus, Ohio over a cup of coffee, and we brainstormed on the idea. At that time after we discussed about the idea, Robert informed me about his partner Robbie Jena, a former NASA Scientist, who’s specialized in industrial ecosystems development based on his past China’s success. Then one day Robert and I went to the ex-finance minister’s house in Columbus, Ohio for our continued talk on the idea.

After a month of waiting for the appointment with the Liberian Government Officials for us to brief them on the idea and get started with its planning, development and implementation, there was a silence of waiting, and for us as entrepreneurs, we couldn’t wait, hence we proceeded with our idea’s planning and development, and it has since become, the Groot Rapid Industrial Ecosystem, which is composed of our industrial projects development in Namibia which some that are online now are; Tses Glass, Groot Steel (Otavi Steel), and Sitentu Power Plant.

You can see our Groot Corporate Brochure about our Industrial Ecosystems, look at the date when it was uploaded on SlideShare, March 2011.

It’s an honor to have MIT engineers, scientists, economists and policy specialists, including one Nobel Prize recipient, as well as Policy Makers at the White House looking and modeling on our Industrial Ecosystems development in Namibia, but it would have been better if they (MIT and the White House) had acknowledged us and given us some credit, instead of just using our idea for their own perhaps personification.

The only issue is this; there’s a difference between someone copying or stealing someone’s else idea, and the actual person who actually came up with idea, because in this case, it’s us at Groot Group (Simon Kapenda, Robbie Jena, and Robert Grier), and the one who copies or steals the idea is never capable and delivering the real realization of the idea successfully and efficiently, than the one who actually came up with it, especially us that are already doing it in Namibia.

MIT provost Martin Schmidt, please contact me at simon@grootgroup.com, to get the real practical knowledge on how to implement an industrial ecosystem. See our Groot site at http://www.grootgroup.com/leasing regarding our Groot Industrial Ecosystem

Read more about the White House blog at http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/02/13/plan-revitalize-american-manufacturing and the MIT statement at http://www.boston.com/businessupdates/2013/02/22/nation-must-rebuild-industrial-ecosystem-spur-manufacturing-says-mit/6sKvKhCsSNwPilbrg5GdqO/story.html

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.

Bank of Namibia’s Lowering the Repo Rate – What Does It Mean for You?

The Bank of Namibia, the central bank of Namibia, last week announced that it has reduced the repo rate to 5.5%, which is now at the lowest level since independence in 1990 while the prime lending rate is now at its lowest level since May 1974 when interest rates stood at 9%. (Economist.com.na).

But will this help you? The repo rate is the rate of interest that commercial banks such as Standard Bank, FNB, Nedbank, and Bank Windhoek charge each other; for example; if Standard Bank is possibly temporarily short of cash, it may apply for a loan from FNB or perhaps from BoN at that repo rate which it must pay it back at most within 24 hours.

Now, since the repo rate is lower, that means these commercial banks should charge lower interest rates on your new loan application. This is done basically that BoN is trying to encourage loan lending in the economy; to help increase cash flow and hence spending in the economy, and this could help increase or boost economic activities, hence economic growth on the macro level.

But does this work in Namibia? Perhaps not; with the unemployment rate in Namibia I’ve estimated it to currently be at 54%, that means more than half of the Namibian people are unable to apply and be qualified for personal loans. And those who are currently employed still may not be able to apply and get qualified for personal bank loans as desired due to; either that their salary and wages are lower or simply that most Namibians’ personal credit history reports have accumulated to an high adverse ratings that for most to apply and get qualified for personal loans at the four mentioned commercial banks in Namibia may not be possible.

So how does the lowering of the repo rate help the economy? Well, may be not much, but it’s better than nothing.

And just because the repo rate is lower, this may not mean that these four commercial banks will actually lower their interest rates on your personal loan need; as their ultimate goal is profit making and not charity, and due to a possible lower demand (persons applying and get qualified for personal loans) vs the limited supply of commercial banks available in Namibia, these banks may not even succumb to lowering the current interest rate on your next personal loan application.

In short; the current lowering of the BoN’s repo rate may simply mean peanuts to most of the Namibian people.