Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) Senior Communications Manager Jerome Mutumba encourages local authority representatives and entrepreneurs to visit DBN at the Erongo Business and Tourism Expo taking place from 26 to 29 October. 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 centres in the Erongo Region who do not regularly visit Walvis Bay.
Mutumba says the Bank views Erongo as a region with major potential for contributing to the development of Namibia's economy.
Mutumba identifies four enterprise areas where the region can be further strengthened: manufacturing, transport and logistics, light and heavy industry, and tourism.
In terms of manufacturing, Mutumba says 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 stimulus for enterprise growth in the transport and logistics sector.
Mutumba points out that support for operations of light and heavy industry will be required for growth of the Erongo mining sector, as well as the Port of Walvis Bay and associated marine activity. This will lead 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 restaurant 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 necessity for forward-looking plans to accommodate population growth in the region, as well as the growth of enterprises. He points to water provision as one area that is currently receiving priority consideration. In addition, the servicing of land for affordable housing, the provision of electricity and the construction of roads are 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 lists N$1.934 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 N$116.33 million.
Mutumba concludes by reiterating his invitation to local authorities and enterprises to visit the Erongo Business and Tourism Expo. The Bank opens doors to enterprise and infrastructure finance, and the Expo is one such door.