Millennium Challenge Account Namibia (MCA‐N) CEO Penny Akwenye and Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Resident Country Director Stevan Dobrilovic together with Kunene Governor, Hon. Joshua Hoebeb, have officially opened an oil distillation facility for mopane and commiphora resin at Opuwo this week, on Thursday.
The small factory and an associated visitor centre were largely funded by MCA‐N through the United States Government.
Governor Hoebeb thanked the American people for their support in fighting poverty. He further highlighted the economic significance of indigenous natural products (INP) for the Himba communities of Kunene Region, whom he called traditional plant experts. In the presence of 60 guests, Akwenye stated that she is convinced that the facilities will contribute not only to increased sales but also increased awareness about these important products.
Construction, furniture, fittings and marketing of the visitor centre were made possible through a grant to the value of N$ 727,675 under MCA‐N’s Conservancy Development Support Grant Fund, and much of the factory equipment came from its Primary Production Improvement Grant Fund worth N$ 353,000. The lion share of approximately N$ 4.5 million went into research, marketing and supply chain development through two Innovation Fund grants.
The processing facility is locally owned by the Kunene Conservancy INP Trust, which comprises of five commiphora producing conservancies, namely Puros, Orupembe, Marienfluss, Sanitatas and Okondjombo. Commiphora is a traditional Himba perfume plant, also known as ‘Namibian myrrh’. While the conservancies benefit directly through the proceeds, 400 harvesters benefit indirectly through the sale of their collected raw material, and four new full‐time jobs have been created to date.
MCA‐N is implementing development activities in the country’s education, agriculture and tourism sectors financed by the United States Government through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to the combined value of US$ 304.5 million (N$ 3 billion) with the aim of reducing poverty through economic growth.