Aug 24

Namibia takes first steps towards build her nation brand and solidify global positioning

As an emerging market, Namibia finds herself frequently competing, either directly or indirectly, with other nations to capture the attention of investors, tourists and potential trading partners, amongst others. The current perception of Namibia as ‘Africa’s best kept secret’ is not likely to significantly catalyse an inflow of foreign direct investment or boost tourism, both of which are essential to stimulating economic activity and growth in the country.

To cut through the ‘noise’ and stand out as the destination of choice, Namibia must forge a national identity that not only strategically differentiates her but does so in a manner that is credible and relevant. Hence, building a nation brand is thus no longer an option, or a luxury, but a strategic imperative for Namibia’s sustainable economic growth.

The long-term strategic vision is to position Namibia as a place to live, visit and invest in, and developing a sustainable and credible nation brand will strengthen the value proposition and economic incentive for potential investors and tourists to choose Namibia as their preferred investment and travel destinations, respectively. With the exception of national symbols such as the flag or the coat of arms, Namibia does not have a universally recognisable brand and brand strategy.

To kick-start the process, the Nation Brand Working Committee, chaired by the Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Hon. Emma Theofelus, resolved to appoint an independent consultant to develop the nation brand strategy for Namibia, with the ultimate objective to enhance the country’s global presence.

The Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB), which holds the mandate to promote Namibia as an investment destination, and serves as the Secretariat to the Nation Brand Working Committee, initiated the bidding process for the appointment of the consultant to develop Namibia’s nation brand and communication strategy, through a Request for Proposals.

Building a nation brand is a complex, long-term process that requires proven experience and strategic insights into how nation brands behave, issues of country competitiveness and shifting perceptions, among others. Therefore, appointing the right team or company to help the country craft this strategy is almost as important as the strategy development process itself.

Given the magnitude of the project, the bidding process is expected to be highly competitive, welcoming both local and international companies. The NIPDB encourages suitably eligible Namibian companies to submit their proposals for this monumental undertaking, which will shape the country’s future trajectory.

The NIPDB is acutely aware that nation branding is still a highly specialised and niche field and recognises the importance of building local capacity. Therefore, we have mandated all international bidders to partner with a local company or agency. In practical terms, international bidders are required to develop a bespoke programme that details how their respective companies intend to build capacity for Namibians as part of this bid. Bids that fail to meet this provision will not be considered.

The proposal submission deadline is set for Thursday, 07 September 2023. Following this, the successful bidder will embark on the extensive process of developing the strategy, involving consultations with relevant stakeholders in Namibia. The Nation Brand Working Committee aims to unveil Namibia’s nation brand in March 2024.

Drawing parallels, while the United Arab Emirates (specifically Dubai) is renowned for their luxury and the United States of America for their ‘American Dream’, our objective is to create a recognisable brand and identity that unites and is endorsed by all Namibians.

This pivotal moment for Namibia beckons every Namibian to actively participate in shaping our national brand – a brand that resonates with our values, our legacy and our national aspirations, both domestically and on the global stage. Namibia is standing at an inflection point, ready to claim her spot amongst the world’s greatest of nations.