A look at the country’s most loved fair

Gearing up for a smart economy
The Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair has developed into a leading national and international trade and exhibition event on the Namibian business calendar.
Tunohole Mungoba
The 21st edition of Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair (OATF) is scheduled to take place from 26 August to 1 September under the theme ‘Gearing for a Smart Economy’.
This OATF, which was held for the first time in 2000, has always applied a strategic approach towards exhibitions.
Each year, the OATF committee develops themes that have helped shape the nature and character of each annual trade fair.
The trade fair has, over the years, developed into a leading national and international trade and exhibition event on the Namibian business calendar, and it continues to draw interest from all sectors of the economy.
“This year, the theme denotes the fact that times are changing fast and business approaches should change with the dynamics to ensure competitiveness in a smart manner, thereby striving to promote economic growth,” Jackson Muma, corporate communication officer of the Ongwediva town council, said.
“As an economic vehicle of the Ongwediva town council, the event continues to promote economic development in the town and beyond. Quality investments have shaped the developmental trajectory of Ongwediva, which can, without a doubt, be attributed to the Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair,” he said.

Leading the way
Since its inception in 2000, the Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair has been a leader in the exhibition industry in Namibia due to the support from corporate and public institutions and the public at large.
This year 350 exhibitors are expected to showcase products and services after the preparatory committee decided to reduce the number of exhibitors to decongest the exhibition venue in the interest of the public health.
Over the years, the number of visitors to the trade fair have increased, with the highest number recorded in 2013, when 111 373 people attended.
In terms of exhibitors, the numbers have remained relatively steady, with the highest recorded in 2010, totalling 550 exhibitors.
Event participants showcase a diverse range of products from cars, food, drinks, and fashion. Corporate and small to medium enterprises meanwhile have the opportunity to promote their services.
“The OATF preparatory committee takes pride in the joint effort by exhibitors, visitors, the corporate fraternity and the public at large, who persistently supported the trade fair to where it is today. OATF is in the hands of the people, the committee is only the caretaker. Therefore, by taking ownership, exhibitors are expected to ensure that OATF is attractive and exciting with the quality of exhibition at its best,” Muma said.

Promote your wares
Muma added that trade fair not only offers a window of investment opportunities, but it also serves as an economic stimulant where various sectors are accommodated to showcase their products and services.
“Through this platform many business personalities have developed and grew their businesses, which are currently playing a substantial role in the broader market through offering quality services and products,” he said.
The trade fair is utilised as a platform to tap into best practises and technologies available and to explore avenues to turn local products and natural resources into viable business propositions.
Muma said apart from the public health concerns, the number of exhibitors were reduced to emphasise the quality and quantity of the services and products being exhibited.
This includes trading and networking opportunities.