By Linea Dishena
NKURENKURU, 13 AUG – Business owners in the Kavango West Region are optimistic that business activities in the region will likely pick up amid projected improvements of the Angolan economy.
In an interview with Nampa on Sunday, Chinese business owner of Nkurenkuru Hardware Centre, who has been doing business for eight years in the town, Chen Ming said business has drastically declined since 2015 due to the current economic downturn in Angola.
The Angolan economic downturn was caused by the fall of crude oil prices in 2014, which led to the eventual withdrawal of the American dollar as legal tender in that country, according to media reports.
Ming emphasised that the market was mostly Angolan citizens compared to locals, adding that before the economic downturn he could make a profit of N$ 20 000 per month in contrast to completely nothing currently.
However, he is adamant that the market will change in the next two years given the expected economic recovery of Angola.
“Most shops have closed down, but I am hoping that things will change and be as before,” he said.
Ming further noted that the declined market also led to people losing their jobs, as previously he employed six people, but now he works alongside his wife only in the shop.
Echoing similar sentiments, Swapo Party Deputy Secretary General, Marco Hausiku, who also has businesses in the region, said trade in areas such as Katwitwi and Nkurenkuru will be strong again in terms of economic development and business interaction with Angola.
Katwitwi border post is located 60 kilometres west of Nkurenkuru, which was a lucrative and attractive business centre not only for locals, but attracted Chinese traders who set up shops at the border settlement that primarily targeted the Angolan market.
Trade in Katwitwi almost completely closed after the neighbouring country’s economic predicament.
“Business was good this side of the region before the Angolan money dropped because the southern part of Angola bordering the region is underdeveloped, so Angolans depended on commodities in Namibia, including social services such as health,” said Hausiku.
He encouraged those with small and medium businesses alongside the borders not to lose hope “as the situation will change”.
A 32-year-old vendor, Emilia Ndara said business slowed down even in the informal business sector.
Ndara, who sells fresh vegetables and fruit, said previously she could take home N.dollars 300 per day, but now makes less than N.dollars 100.
“If the Angolan economic situation is going to change, then business will be good again and we can feed our families,” she said. – NAMPA