Mboti proving herself in a patriarchal world

By Philani Nkomo
September 2015
Women in Business

Mboti the Chief Investment Promotion Officer for Namibia Investment Centre (NIC), a department under the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development, heads a department which is comprised of 80 percent women with only one male manager. “There is no reason to complain that we are not adequately represented as women at NIC. But generally I see less women coming to us or engaging in businesses especially those that are male dominated,” says Mboti.

She elevated from Trade Promotion Officer, a position she held for a year after joining the Ministry, and was promoted to Chief Level in 2009. Currently she works directly in the division of Investment Promotion, which is a marketing department for NIC. One of her immediate tasks includes making sure that there are enough promotional materials that the department disseminates at various platforms to potential investors and embassies abroad.

The Chief Investment Promotion Officer has a vital impact in society as she is required to attract investment into Namibia which includes facilitating joint ventures with local companies across various sectors. Although not all investment initiatives are realised, those that picked up generate jobs for Namibian people.

Her department is entrusted with the marketing of Namibia as a preferred Investment location. It is the first point of call for Investors looking for opportunities to invest in Namibia.

The Centre was established in 1990 under the Foreign Investment Act no.27 of 1990. The Centre’s main responsibility is to promote FDI, facilitate, retain and create an enabling investment environment and a regulatory framework to allow the ease of doing business in Namibia to be attractive and competitive. “We also identify and encourage the retaining, attraction and growth of inward and outward domestic investment. However, under the new law we are also looking at our domestic investors how best to assist their investment and attract reinvestment into the local economy,” she says.

NIC is also in the process of having an online marketing tool that will further create awareness of its existence in the cyber world. This tool will generate awareness of its existence and the services it offers.

“It is unbelievably true that most people still do not know who we are and what we do. The online tool will target mainly the youths and foreign investors to engage with them on a daily basis in attending or responding to their enquiries,” Mboti explains.

She also explains that a number of new investments and expansions by local companies have been noted especially in the construction, retail, property development and tourism sectors. There is however still a greater scope for expanded local value addition and exports of manufactured products. The level of manufacturing and its contribution to the country’s GDP and employment in particular continues to be relatively low in comparison to the NDP4 and Vision 2030 goals. Some remarkable investments by domestic companies include the N$2 billion Namundjebo Plaza Hotel development by the United Africa Group, the O&L Group of companies investment of N$2.5 billion and the Superfarm investment in 2009.

“As you might be aware, as a country we have identified under NDP 4 goals, the 4 sectors (manufacturing, tourism, transport and logistics and Agro-industry) as those with potentials to grow the Namibian economy and create jobs for our people,” she says. The self-motivated woman sees herself having achieved her target goals she set with the Ministry ten years from now. “Our individual performances are measured through Performance Agreement where I set targets for myself. In value form I want to count at least 10 major investments that we have attracted into Namibia and then I can retire peacefully.”

“This career is very rewarding, more especially if you love what you do. One of the highlights are the opportunities one is accorded to ensure that Namibia has a fair share of regional and global Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows. Doing that allows you to interact with different people with interest in diverse sectors,” Mboti adds. She encourages up-and-coming young women leaders of Namibia to take up challenges in all sectors of the Namibian economy. “There should be no limits whatsoever. By this I want to see them engaging more in businesses that are mainly dominated by men such as construction, manufacturing and mining,” she says.

Although Mboti’s job is fulfilling and fun, she faces a challenge of promoting awareness about the Centre both locally and abroad. However, she says she always tries to create campaigns in both platforms.