It has always been the business community which in Namibia remained united and stood under the one umbrella called Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) since 1990.
Apart from the Indigenous Peoples Business Forum (IPBF), NCCI has never seen rival business organisations, associations or economic pressure groups of any kind outside its tent.
But now desperate times have called for desperate measures as the ongoing crisis caused by a sluggish economy and the onslaught of Covid-19 has seen an emergence of splinter groups in the business community, all vying for a space in the sun.
Notable is the new United Entrepreneurs Association of Namibia (UEAN). The UEAN’s mission is to go on ahead of the NCCI and represent its members by making presentations and demands on the tables of political leaders and leaders of economic institutions such as banks.
While the association is yet to be registered, it has already last week had an audience with President Hage Geingob at State House where the Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and the Minister of Trade and Industrialisation Lucia Ipumbu were also present.
Yesterday the association had a meeting with Development Bank of Namibia’s management.
Yet, a disgruntled group within the UEAN took no time to leave the fledgling association and set up their own, which they have called “Black Leadership and Business Network”, which is a group or association exclusively of and for black entrepreneurs.
While the Black Leadership and Business Network is said to have been alive as far back as 2018, it was the disagreement about the UEAN’s meeting at State House which led to the regrouping of the Network. Some members of the UEAN felt that they were not consulted or informed by their leaders about the meeting which the acting leadership went to have with President Geingob.
They also seem to have been dissatisfied with the acceptance of white entrepreneurs as members of the UEAN.
Thus the black network is “for black entrepreneurs and business owners […] a strong, united and collective voice to seek redress regarding the role of banks and other business related matters, business foreclosures, repossessions and policy interventions.”
While Namibia is well-known for multiple church denominations, numerous political parties, various trade unions, and several student bodies, it will be the business community which will prove whether splinter groups really do work in the search for a common Namibian destiny or it will be a wild goose chase in the final sprint towards the year 2030.
In the photo: DBN CEO Mr Martin Inkumbi (in white shirt) with some of the top leadership of UEAN, led by Mr Agapitus Hausiku (in blue trousers).