Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair embraces digitalisation
According to Jackson Muma, spokesperson for the Ongwediva town council, trade fairs provide the ideal platform for innovations and product launches to capture the attention of both markets and the media.
In an interview with Namibia Media Holdings, Muma explained how the Ongwediva Trade Fair Society promotes the Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair (OATF) beyond the borders of Namibia.
He emphasised that trade fair participants, whether local or global, can gain a comprehensive overview of the industry's offerings and observe the competition.
"We encourage those who showcase their products to keep an open mind that new markets can be opened up here at OATF - to experience the pleasures of unexpected encounters and new discoveries," Muma said.
The world is digital
As the world embraces digitalisation, Muma said the OATF is keeping pace with the ongoing innovations and technological advancements.
He said the OATF has adopted a futuristic approach and embraces transformation.
Last year, they organised a hybrid exhibition, allowing exhibitors to showcase their trades both physically and online.
"That is what we call progressive business practice, which is in alignment with the fourth industrial revolution and the Harambee Prosperity Plan II’s stance and drive towards digitalisation," he said.
Muma said they use their themes to improve and enhance their marketing strategies.
"Marketing is centred around themes. It guides our strategic marketing," he said.
The society also engages with stakeholders on social media platforms as well as their website, which was designed not only to look good but to be interactive.
The Ongwediva Trade Fair Society committee has ensured the event remains consistent and focused in terms of core objectives, he added.
As a result, he said, exhibitors gain confidence in the event as they got tangible results.
Muma pointed out that the Ongwediva town council has a twinning agreement with Limpopo Province to join the OATF in showcasing products from neighbouring South Africa and strengthening ties between small and medium enterprises in the two countries.
The trade fair society has also signed an agreement with the ministry of trade to promote dialogue and business from other countries through the African Free Trade Flagship Part of the 2063 Agenda.
"Real trade fairs will continue to be of essential importance for exhibitors. However, trade fairs will be supplemented to a greater extent by virtual event formats," Muma said.
Chairperson of the Ongwediva Trade Fair Society, Rebekka Hidulika, said during the pandemic, digital events gained in importance.
Hidulika said OATF had to realign its marketing strategy as a result.
The trade fair takes place from 25 August to 2 September and aspires to host at least 450 exhibitors.
Southern African Development Countries (SADC) and East and West African countries such as South Africa, Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda are expected to showcase their products.
Other countries expected to be present include China, Germany, the USA, Indonesia and Japan.