Windhoek-Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) is visiting southern Namibia to encourage borrowing to establish larger enterprises, small and medium enterprises, and infrastructure, Senior Communication Manager, Jerome Mutumba, has confirmed.
Information sessions are being held in Rehoboth, Mariental, Lüderitz and Oranjemund.
According to Mutumba, borrowing in the Hardap Region has been low since 2016, and the bank’s visit is intended to stimulate demand. The region has potential for enterprise development, particularly in the form of secondary sector offshoots of the agricultural sector, such as agri-processing and food manufacturing. He added that the bank is also particularly interested in the transport and logistics, and tourism sectors. He also said the bank will be seeking to seize financing opportunities in local authorities planning to expand infrastructure.
Regarding //Karas Region, Mutumba said borrowing levels were reasonable in 2016 but low in 2017.
The bank is particularly optimistic for the Port of Lüderitz, Mutumba said, adding that ports are traditional sources of activity for light and heavy industry. He also said Lüderitz mariculture and fishing industries can also benefit from the bank’s finance.
The logistics sector, he said, is likely to grow in the short to medium-term on the basis of development of trade, and import and export activities, between Namibia and the Northern Cape in South Africa.
Mutumba added that the bank expects a boom in Lüderitz in the medium to long-term, and that this would put pressure on the town’s infrastructure. The bank’s finance for infrastructure will help in alleviating the needs for infrastructure, as well as stimulating the local construction industry.
Talking about Oranjemund, Mutumba said the town is on the cusp of further development. The town’s economy has been driven by diamond extraction, but it can be further stimulated with SME activity in support of the diamond industry, as well as underexplored potential for tourism. The town also requires affordable housing, and the bank can assist contractors with finance for construction activities.
Talking holistically about Namibia’s south, Mutumba stated that the Hardap and //Karas regions are characterised by poverty, however, this could be addressed with financing that stimulates enterprise and infrastructure development.
Mutumba explained that finance and enterprise go hand in hand. Enterprise requires infrastructure, and the construction of infrastructure is justified by the needs of enterprise. The bank is looking for a healthy mix of financing opportunities for actors in both fields, and with its visit to the regions, it is opening doors to them.
The bank and the nation understand the need for transformation of regional economies, and is extending flexible financing packages that will materially improve prospects for development.
“We expect more from Hardap and //Karas and so entrepreneurs and town councils can expect more from DBN,” Mutumba said.