Senior communication manager at the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN), Jerome Mutumba, encourages local authority representatives and entrepreneurs to visit DBN at the Erongo Business and Tourism Expo from October 26 to 29.
Although the bank has offices in Walvis Bay, he says DBN’s presence at the Expo is intended to provide a convenient point of contact for visitors from other centers in the Erongo Region who do not regularly visit Walvis Bay.
Elaborating on DBN’s view of the Erongo Region, Mutumba says it views Erongo as a region with major potential for contributing to the development of Namibia’s economy.
Mutumba identified four enterprise areas where the region can be further strengthened, namely manufacturing, transport and logistics, light and heavy industry and tourism.
In terms of manufacturing, Mutumba said there is room for growth and diversification of existing enterprises, as well as start-ups. He says that manufacturing can benefit from the Walvis Bay Corridor, and trade with neighbouring countries.
He identifies the Walvis Bay Corridor and the benefits of SADC regionalisation as a key stimulus for enterprise growth in the transport and logistics sector.
In terms of light and heavy industry, Mutumba points to the fact that support of these operations will be required for growth of the Erongo mining sector, as well as the Port of Walvis Bay and associated marine activity. This leads to opportunities for growth of existing industrial operations and start-ups.
Tourism, he notes, can be further developed through the establishment of additional enterprises in the accommodation and restaurants subsector.
He says that although Walvis Bay and Swakopmund have a high degree of activity in this field, there is room for additional capacity in smaller Erongo centres and conservancies.
Talking about infrastructure, Mutumba urges local authorities to consider the requirement for forward-looking plans to accommodate population growth in the region and growth of enterprises.
He points to water provision as one area that is currently receiving priority consideration, but also to servicing of land for affordable housing, electricity requirements and construction of roads, as requirements for the sustainability of the region in decades to come.
Mutumba says that the bank has a sound and sustainable pool of finance that can be brought to bear in the Erongo Region. The depth of the pool is illustrated by large-scale provision of finance for Erongo RED and The Delight Hotel.
DBN has a long and successful track record in Erongo, Mutumba says. He lists N$1,9 billion in approvals to the region, and an estimated job impact of 1 703 new jobs and 2 424 temporary jobs.
The largest beneficiary sectors in Erongo have been construction with approvals of N$848.4 million, electricity and water with N$454.57 million, real estate and business services with N$194.73 million and manufacturing with 116.33 million.
Mutumba concluded by reiterating his welcome to local authorities and enterprises at the Erongo Business and Tourism Expo. The bank opens doors to enterprise and infrastructure finance, and the expo is one of them.