The two-day event was held at the Habitat Research and Development Centre in Windhoek under the theme ‘Innovation in Manufacturing’ to engage the local manufacturing sector and to initiate multi-stakeholder dialogue. The Innovation Festival therefore served as a platform for multi-disciplinary collaboration and idea-sharing among Namibian innovators, the private sector, government as well as local and international participants.
A number of expert speakers from across a range of fields of innovation, including business, entrepreneurship, government, social impact, design and numerous others, addressed the Festival. They covered a variety of thought provoking topics such as the Blue Economy, Design Thinking and Product Development. The Festival also created opportunities for local innovators by granting them an opportunity to participate in an exhibition where they could showcase their products and services. Speaking during the opening of the event, the Rector of the Poly, Prof Tjama Tjivikua, described the NBII as “an engine for imagination, new ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship, with the ability to develop talent and to establish a culture of implementation which would lead to the increased competitiveness of Namibia.”
The opening was also attended by Minister of Higher Education, Training and Innovation, Honourable Dr Itah Kandjii-Murangi, who pointed to the strategic importance of the manufacturing sector as identified by the National Development Plan 4 (NDP4). “Innovation in manufacturing is one of the multiple strategic initiatives we should be pursuing. This should be done vigorously with the overall goal of boosting and sustaining our economic growth, addressing unemployment challenges and minimising income inequalities in our society,” Honourable Kandjii-Murangi said.