- Business Meeting
- Public holidays
Namibians are warm, fairly educated and self-confident people with a sense of humor. They often know the Czech Republic and perceive it as a successful democracy. Business society is relatively diverse and the nature of business dealings may differ in specific cases. Prepare to deal with a German-speaking businessman from Swakopmund, an Afrikaner in the mining sector who still considers Namibia a pre-revolutionary South African province, or a civil servant installed by the ruling socialist party. The working day starts early in the morning, working breakfasts are popular. It is necessary to be flexible and allow for possible changes when planning meetings. At the meeting, it is advisable to have a prepared presentation, speak to the point and be understandable. Be natural and confident. Fluent English is a matter of course,
Namibian partners (especially civil servants) can be quite formal when first meeting. It is appropriate to address the partner by title and state his function (e.g. Mr. Director /Mr. President, Madam Director /Madam President). If we are not sure of the function, we will use Sir/Madam. Addressing Sir / Madam is also used when communicating with unknown counterparts, e.g. in a hotel, bank, restaurant, etc. Addressing by title and surname (Mr. Ubuntu / Ms. Ubuntu) is also acceptable. It is generally true, as in Europe, that a more socially significant person can offer a socially less significant person to be addressed by a first name or a nickname. Depending on the specific situation and the position of the partner on the social ladder, we can try to do this ourselves and offer to be addressed by first names.
The ideal time for meetings in Namibia is in the morning when the temperatures are not yet high. The usual office hours of companies and offices are from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. When arranging an appointment, a certain flexibility and possible changes must be taken into account. Ideally, the first meeting should take place in the partner’s office. For follow-up negotiations, it is possible to propose a meeting in the form of a working breakfast, dinner or lunch to fine-tune the details and get to know each other better. Reception at the partner’s home is not usual for the first contacts. “Time is the gift of Africa” and it flows differently for Africans. It is necessary to arrive at the meeting on time, but this cannot be expected automatically from the other party. If the partner is delayed, it is best to move on and concentrate on the content of the meeting.
It is necessary to prepare for negotiations with Namibian representatives at least as conscientiously and approach them similarly as negotiations with partners in Europe. It is necessary to take into account the fact that it is a representative of a different cultural circle: the presentation must therefore be clear, comprehensible and convincing. Africans don’t like to read between the lines and Namibians are no exception, you need to be specific and straight to the point. When preparing your own presentation, it doesn’t hurt to include one or two pages of facts. When talking to each other, you need to be receptive, open to unexpected turns, neither condescending nor condescending, flexibly keeping your standards.
It is not recommended to offer alcohol on the first date. It is customary to consume alcoholic beverages in limited quantities at any informal dinner (not at lunch). A number of Namibians who hold higher positions in the state administration or in the management of private entities come from socially established, often politically engaged and financially well-off families. They are often graduates or even have academic degrees from one or more prestigious world universities. Africans generally value the achievement of high social status, which the successful often demonstrate with a conspicuous emphasis on ostentatiousness and material self-presentation. A modified exterior is also expected from a European. A tie or suit is not required. For men, a quality shirt, light jacket and trousers and closed dress shoes will suffice, for ladies a summer dress or suit.
African businessmen can be quite formal on some issues, while on others they are unusually open. A good mood supported by a funny story opens the doors to success. Africans have a deep-rooted respect for old age and a sense of hierarchy. It can only be recommended that a senior colleague or otherwise significant person within the company’s hierarchy be part of the business delegation, equipped with relevant powers and information regarding delivery conditions, price and trade financing. It is not appropriate to engage in political, racial or other potentially dangerous exchanges of opinion. Alternatively, only after a thorough acquaintance with the opposing party’s position. Our partners may not always correctly understand irony or sarcasm during negotiations. Good topics for conversation are family, sports, the natural beauty of Namibia and its people. Most Namibians, with whom one can meet in business dealings are Christians. Traditional religions are maintained mainly in the countryside. In general, sub-Saharan Africa has a benevolent attitude in matters of faith and religious differences are accepted. A different religion should not be an obstacle to possible business cooperation.
The working language is English, which is widely used. Knowledge of the most widespread local language Oshiwambo or any of the other local languages is not necessary and an interpreter is not needed. On the other hand, learning a few phrases in one of the local dialects won’t hurt. The other party will be pleased to show respect for the local culture. Some entrepreneurs of German origin speak German. Afrikaans, which is spoken by most white Namibians of South African origin, can often be used in negotiations. A number of subsidiaries also have their mothers or branches in South Africa. Email is recommended for official business communication. Namibians like to communicate informally through smartphone applications (WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, etc.), it is advisable to use this form of communication for normal conversation, when negotiating or confirming meetings, etc. Visit Aparentingblog for more information about Namibia culture and traditions.
The best course of action when entering the market seems to be to approach a verified local partner, a company operating in your field in Namibia, with an offer of cooperation. The companion should be able to arrange an adequate reception, program and accompany you to meetings. During your absence, he will be in contact with the other party and arrange follow-up negotiations. It is also advisable to contact the state agency Namibia Investment Center under the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Small and Medium Enterprises Development and formally request cooperation and assistance in the creation of the program. The experience of communicating with this agency is relatively positive. To ensure acceptance in the ministries and in the army, we also recommend contacting the commercial and economic section of the Czech Embassy in Pretoria.
January 1 – New Year
March 21 – Independence Day
Good Friday (Easter)
May 1 – Labor Day
May 4 – Cassing Day
Ascension Day (May or June, 40 days after Easter, Thursday)
25 May – Africa Day
August 26 – Heroes’ Day
December 10 – Human Rights Day and Namibian Women’s Day
December 25 – Christmas holiday
December 26 – Family Day