Business mogul Sven Thieme says there is a need for the current administration, now led by president Nangolo Mbumba and other leaders, to drive former president Hage Geingob’s dream of creating a synthetic energy hub in Namibia.
He says Geingob’s dream for a prosperous Namibia that benefits from its resources and is driven by locals is still achievable, bearing in mind the recent oil discoveries.
Geingob, who died on Sunday at the age of 82, is the architect of the multibillion-dollar green hydrogen drive that has attracted several investors from Europe and other parts of the world.
“Geingob was very involved in business and I would give him almost 10 out of 10 on his efforts to improve the business environment in the country. I would say the [former] president was a ‘dictator’ because he wanted things done. I believe that for a person to be a good leader, you need that element of dictatorship,” Thieme, the executive chairperson of the Ohlthaver & List Group (O&L), told Desert Radio’s ‘Talking Business’ yesterday.
“The [former] president would always consult with different people, but when it came to making the decision, he always made the decision and moved on with it. That is important, because in life you need people who make decisions for things to work,” Thieme said.
He described Geingob as a respected figure within the business community, who believed in Namibians taking the lead.
“He was always on the forefront of wanting locals to benefit from business opportunities in the country. I must also say that he believed that everyone had to work hard to get the opportunities,” he said.
Thieme reiterated that Geingob’s era, which also saw Namibia discovering oil, would steer the country to prosperity if followed through.
“Most of the times that we have engaged, he has always been open about engaging and did quite a lot to create a favourable environment for business,” Thieme said.
Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Bisey /Uirab, also speaking on Desert Radio, said Geingob was an astute business leader and academic who valued the need to consult with stakeholders before key decisions are made.
“I have always had high respect for him and I know he worked very hard to promote the growth of local business. He was a man who consulted a lot on different decisions. In his tenure, we also saw the setting up of the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board, which is vital in promoting business growth in the country,” he said.
According to /Uirab, Geingob pushed hard for the implementation of the Investment Act.
“We now have the Investment Act. Although it might not have everything that we wanted, his efforts show that he was a leader who was concerned about doing things that businesses needs to grow,” he said.
Speaking on the same platform, Namibia Local Business Association (Naloba) vice president Kanu Amadhila said Geingob was very supportive of creating a platform to see local businesses thrive.
“I know he was one of the leaders who really supported our view on creating a business group that supports the aspirations of the local people. He took some time to listen to the wishes of business leaders,” he said.
Amadhila said Geingob’s enthusiasm will be missed by the business community.
“The business community in the country always felt that they had a leader who was able to listen and engage in any issues affecting them.”
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