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Desert Visa Programme aims to attract high net-worth investors

2023-03-16  Staff Reporter

Desert Visa Programme aims to attract high net-worth investors

In an effort to attract foreign investment and high net-worth individuals into the country, the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB) is working with the home affairs ministry to finalise a Golden Visa programme, as envisaged in the second Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP II). 

The NIPDB hopes to submit the
framework for the programme to Cabinet as soon as it has been presented to and endorsed by the relevant ministers, namely the home affairs minister and the Minister in the Office of the President. The NIPDB is mandated to promote and facilitate investment by foreign and Namibian investors, and coordinate MSMEs’ activities across all levers of the economy, with the aim of contributing to economic development and job-creation.

The NIPDB stated that Residence-by-Investment (RBI) programmes (also known as Golden Visa programmes) have become increasingly popular across the world as ways to attract high net-worth individuals into a country, and as a means to strategically revitalise national economies. 

Globally, more than 100 countries have targeted RBI programmes, with most regimes offering investors permanent residence that allows them and their families to live, work and invest in the country, in accordance
with the conditions set by each country. 

“Namibia is faced with challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment. In order to effectively address these challenges, the Namibian government has committed
to private sector-led growth, and has
embraced investments as an important part of the solution to these challenges. 

“In this regard, the NIPDB is working collaboratively with various OMAs to ensure that we attract investments that will bring Namibia closer to achieving our national priorities and economic development objectives, in accordance with our national laws and regulations,” read a statement issued by chairperson and CEO of the NIPDB, Nangula Uaandja. 

She noted that for Namibia, the potential of using similar programmes to drive economic growth is considered in the Harambee Prosperity Plan II, in which one of the stated activities under the Economic Competitiveness pillar is to “Design and offer competitive investment incentives to facilitate local and foreign direct investment
attraction and retention”. 

“In this regard, HPPII mandates that the NIPDB, “in conjunction with the Ministry of Home Affairs, will formulate a targeted Golden Visa programme looking to incentivise and attract investors with skills, discretionary capital and ambitions to set up businesses and residency in Namibia. In this regard, the route taken by Mauritius is a strong case in point and a positive example to follow,” Uaandja stated. 

She continued that in catalysing the attainment of this goal, the board is in the process of crafting a concept for a Namibian RBI framework called the Desert Visa Programme, which covers various categories of investment, and proposes certain conditions for each category. Amongst the various categories conceptualised under this framework is one on RBI through real estate investments. 

“The NIPDB is currently working closely with the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security to ensure
all aspects and potential gaps in the
programme are well-considered, and that the criteria for the approvals for real estate developments qualifying for RBI are
well set out before submitting the same to Cabinet for approval. This activity, which has an underlying
objective of raising N$50 billion in investments during the HPPII period, was due for implementation during the second quarter of the 2021/2022 financial year,” Uaandja said.  


The President’s Link Estate 

The NIPDB CEO went on to state that at its inception in 2021, the board was familiarised with the President’s Link Estate development in Walvis Bay when the project promoters sought the board’s assistance with the provision of several investor services, in line with the mandate to render investment facilitation services to potential investors. 

Uaandja stated: “In accordance with the above-mentioned HPP II objective, the
project promoters further requested an update, and have been following up on the status of the Golden Visa programme. The total investment value of the golf estate is set to be over N$4 billion. It is also envisaged
that the project will create over 2 500 temporary jobs, 1 300 permanent jobs, and build over 700 low-cost houses for Namibians (in addition to the homes constructed on
 the Estate)”. 

One of the marketing angles for the gold estate project includes an RBI through real estate component. 

Therefore, in the absence of an approved Golden Visa programme and while the modalities of the type of residency offered through these programmes and the
conditions attached thereto are still being worked through and pending approval by
the relevant authorities, the NIPDB has advised the project promoters to attract investors
based on the existing laws and regulations,
as applied by the home affairs ministry. 

2023-03-16  Staff Reporter

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