By Staff Reporter
WINDHOEK – The Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) has announced that it has provided finance for the establishment of a second newspaper printing press in Namibia, WordPress, located in Windhoek.
WordPress is printing the The Namibian newspaper and is exploring avenues to print other newspapers, as well as supplements and inserts. WordPress printed its first edition of The Namibian on Tuesday.
Finance provided by DBN was used for the acquisition of machinery for the printing operation. This includes the printing machine, a folding machine, computer-to-plate imaging equipment, an insert machine and a shrink wrapping and strapping machine. In order to move the paper rolls and distribute newspapers, WordPress has acquired forklifts and trucks.
In addition to the acquisition of the printing plant, WordPress also used DBN finance to acquire and repurpose buildings to house the printing plant.
WordPress is expected to create 42 or more new permanent jobs in the factory in the long run.
The plant is expected to strengthen the sustainability of several existing newspapers, as well as provide opportunities for new entrants into the market.
Additional capacity will create local opportunities to print inserts and supplements, many of which are currently printed in South Africa.
Speaking about the project, DBN CEO Martin Inkumbi noted that Namibia has the highest degree of press freedom on the continent, but that press freedom also requires diversity of capacity to produce newspapers.
Inkumbi said that if a single manufacturer experiences difficulty, this affects the flow of goods to the entire market. Establishment of a second press, Inkumbi said, will contribute to securing press freedom for the future.
He said the DBN views WordPress as a manufacturing operation, which falls within the strategic ambit of DBN as one of the key sectors identified by NDP 4.
He commended the structure of the company as ideal in terms of the bank’s mandate, noting that half the shares are owned by the Namibia Media Trust (NMT). The trust owns the Free Press of Namibia, which in turn owns and produces The Namibian newspaper.
Wolfram Jauss, a Namibian who has experience in development and management of newsprint operations, as well as newspapers, is the other shareholder.
Inkumbi also noted that the trust has as its objectives to develop journalism skills in Namibia, and nurtures press freedom and freedom of expression.
Inkumbi said a combination of factors makes an excellent example of how a single project can have multiple development impacts to the benefit of Namibia.