Presidential Affairs Minister Frans Kapofi recently urged banks to go beyond just providing financial services and start showing genuine interest in the lives of Namibians who live in abject poverty due to unemployment and lack of adequate housing.
Kapofi made the remarks during the recent ground-breaking ceremony for the new Standard Bank Head Office, where he spoke on behalf of President Hage Geingob.
He3 said that all banks should actively participate in creating development initiatives for the country as a whole.
This is a call that Standard Bank has been working hard to heed through its various initiatives that are aimed at the socio-economic development of the country, a fact Kapofi acknowledged during his speech.
“During 2016, Standard Bank made significant strides towards positioning itself as a key player in shaping Namibia’s investment landscape as the national agenda shifted towards investment driven growth. Within the infrastructure sector alone, the Bank extended bridge financing to the National Oil Storage in Walvis Bay, along with the newly constructed 77-on-Independence Complex in Windhoek,” Kapofi noted.
He added that with a workforce of over 1 700 employees, the Bank’s roots are deeply entrenched into the fabric of the Namibian society, and strongly urged that banking services should be made accessible to all Namibians in a cost effective way in order to take our inhabitants out of poverty and into financial prosperity. He further commended Standard Bank for being a financial institution strongly committed to this cause.
Highlighting all the work that Standard Bank has done towards creating developmental initiatives for Namibia, the Bank’s Acting Head of Marketing Sigrid Tjijorokisa pointed out some of the initiatives carried out by the bank to further that cause.
“We provided funding facilities for a wide-range of public and private sector entities involved in the mining and metals, as well as, power and infrastructure industries, such as Debmarine Namibia and the Zimbabwe Power Corporation (ZPC). Standard Bank also partnered with the Namibian government in hedging the coupon obligations within government’s Eurobond portfolio,” Tjijorokisa noted.
She stressed that fostering constructive relationship with the Namibian government was a key priority in 2016 for the bank. As such, Standard Bank endeavoured to assist the State in encouraging investment and job creation by supporting the government in launching the first annual ‘Invest in Namibia International Investment Conference’.
In addition to co-hosting the ‘Invest in Namibia International Investment Conference’ in November 2016, the Bank also co-hosted the second annual Public Private Partnership (PPP) Conference. This conference was aimed to identify and reiterate durable solutions that could harness the PPP framework in financing key infrastructure projects and initiatives in the provision of energy, affordable housing and the transport sector,” Tjijorokisa said.
On the Corporate Social Investment (CSI) front, Standard Bank proved that it is a financial institution with Namibia’s people at heart with the various initiatives it supported.
“At the heart of our Bank lies the drive support and help uplift the communities and economies of the environment in which we operate, and we have done this by pledging 1 percent of our net profit after tax to CSI initiatives. This contribution by the Bank is four times more than what is required by the Financial Services Charter,” she explained.
In 2016, Standard Bank contributed N$4.7 million to CSI. Of this, N$2-million went towards health, wellness and poverty alleviation projects; N$724 000 was spent on entrepreneurship development, N$485 000 was donated to drought relief efforts and N$744 000 was contributed towards the Bank’s CSI fundraising Buy-a-Brick initiative.
“The bar was raised even higher when our Buy-a-Brick initiative resulted in the construction of 44 new brick houses in Rehoboth benefiting no-and-low income communities who previously lived in shacks. A total of N$1.4-million was donated to the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia last year to build these brick houses,” she noted.
Through these, and many more, Standard Bank has illustrated that it is committed to not only creating, but also partnering with government and other institutions for the betterment of Namibia as a whole.
Voted the Best Investment Bank in the country, Best Emerging Markets Bank and the Best Sub Custodian Bank in Namibia last year, Tjijorokisa concluded that the Bank is steadfast in its resolve to contribute even more to the country’s socio-economic development this year.