By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK Namibia received a major financial boost of 4-million Euros, equivalent to N$32-million, for infrastructural development, after Old Mutual Life Assurance Namibia signed a funding agreement with the European Investment Bank (EIB) on Friday. Administered under the insurance company’s Managing Infrastructure Development in Namibia (MIDINA), the European Union’s loan to Namibia will be used to co-finance infrastructure and related investment projects undertaken by local authorities, state owned enterprises and private entities. Through MIDINA, the EIB funds will be channelled to the various beneficiaries in the country. At a media briefing on Friday, the loan agreement was signed by the Chief Financial Officer of Old Mutual Namibia Louis du Toit and EIB’s Director General for Lending Operations outside the European Union, Jean-Louis Biancarelli. Speaking at the signing ceremony Biancarelli, who’s on his fourth visit to Namibia, said that his delegation had earlier that day met President Hifikepunye Pohamba at State House to exchange views on how to foster economic development in the country. “This was especially on small-scale enterprise funding where we made proposals for financial strategies for investments,” said Biancarelli. Eligible investment projects include transport infrastructure, telecommunications, power supply and distribution, water and sanitation projects, low cost housing as well as community projects in underdeveloped areas. The size of individual projects to be funded by the Old Mutual MIDINA Fund will be in the range of N$1-million to N$30-million. The MIDINA Fund is therefore seen as a vital instrument for funding sustainable infrastructure projects in disadvantaged rural areas, which mobilises long-term investment funds for projects that make a contribution to alleviating poverty. Such a goal is seen to be well in line with the EIB’s investment policy under the framework of the Cotonou Agreement. At the same time Old Mutual’s chief financial officer therefore sees the latest funding agreement as a ” good response to the country’s economic needs” . The bank’s funding will be disbursed during a 5-year investment period and be reimbursed during a 10-year repayment period with interest. This is not the first time that EIB has provided financial loans to Namibia. Over the last ten years a total of 176-million Euros was granted where entities like Nampower, Namport and Namwater reaped the benefits. Furthermore, through the MIDINA Fund six local projects were funded at a value of N$61.9-million, which included amongst others the construction of erven along Long Beach in Walvis Bay, the upgrading of resorts of Namibia Wildlife Resorts and erecting the new headquarters of the Roads Contractor Company. With the signing of the new agreement, the EIB funds will be channelled to the various entities through Old Mutual Namibia – MIDINA Fund’s promoter and main investor – and will cover up to 50 percent of eligible investments, while MIDINA will provide the balance of funding. The EIB, established in 1958, finances capital investment projects that are in line with the European Union’s policy objectives. Currently it operates in the African, Caribbean and Pacific States and the Overseas Countries and Territories, South Africa, the Mediterranean region, Asia and Latin America as well as in the Accession countries, Western Balkans and Russia.
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