Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) CEO, Martin Inkumbi, has announced that the Bank will provide N$1 million to sponsor the multidisciplinary MA in Development Studies, to be offered at the Oshakati UNAM campus.
Talking about the need for development at the launch of the programme, Inkumbi said development addresses the inequities of the past as well as preparing for future needs.
He said Namibia still has to address economic structural issues that have excluded the majority of Namibians from formal economic activity, and reduced them to subsistence activities. On the other hand, Namibia has forecasts of economic requirements brought about by population growth, and the need for competitiveness, locally, in the SADC, in other African economic blocs, and in global economies.
He went on to say that the Bank has to respond to national plans, such as the Harambee Prosperity Plan, NDP5, as well as other economic development directives from the government. Yet although its activities are directed by its mandate, the Bank has a responsibility to interpret the various needs and respond to them in a manner which provides the best possible outcome in terms of development impact.
The MA course, he elaborated, represents a deepening of the pool of knowledge with which the Bank will engage in future. Graduates and those who audit the lectures will add to the shared development knowledge base and will be able to contribute to formation of common goals. The graduates will also constitute a deepening of the pool of human resources for all development institutions in Namibia, as well as for the commercial sector.
Inkumbi said the Bank expects the MA in Development Studies programme to take a lead in the discipline of economic development and transformation, and to lead the way to new and innovative development thinking, strategies and plans that will improve the economy and give additional impetus to social development.
He continued by saying that the Bank expects the graduates to better understand the Bank’s decisions through understanding of formal theories and fields of development. This will lead to a greater understanding of DBN’s priorities in allocating finance.
In conclusion, Inkumbi commended UNAM and the initiators of the course, and called on them to also make segments of the course available as short courses to enhance the skills and business knowledge of entrepreneurs and of individuals occupied in specific fields of development.
As growth resumes in Namibia and with its trade partners, the Namibian transport and logistics sector will become a greater source of economic activity for the country, said Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) Senior Manager: Corporate Communication, Jerome Mutumba. On this basis, the Bank is initiating a drive stimulate the sector with finance.
The drive has a twofold purpose: to enable sectoral capacity building among existing enterprises, and to open the door to new entrants.
Mutumba said that the Bank expects increasing demand based on two factors.
Firstly, there is a growing need for movement of goods and commodities within Namibia. As towns and villages in Namibia improve their socio-economic statuses, increased activity will bring about a greater need for transport and logistics.
Secondly, SADC regional development is leading to improvements in potential for trade between countries in the region. The current level of optimism is illustrated by numerous trade corridors opening in the region, in addition to the Trans-Kalahari and Trans-Caprivi Corridors in Namibia.
In addition to direct financing to enterprises, the Bank is also financing a number infrastructure projects that have a direct impact on the sector, including road construction and rehabilitation, and the NEF fuel storage facility, which will extend Namibia’s fuel reserves. The Bank has also provided finance to Namport for cranes.
By supporting the transport and logistics sector, Mutumba explains, DBN is supporting the economic future of Namibia, its overarching drive for trade, and its ambition to become the regional transport hub of choice for its neighbours.
Talking about elements where DBN finance can be brought to bear, Mutumba said the shopping list includes warehousing, cold storage, bonded warehouses, dry ports, truck ports, fleets as well as other assets used on a day-to-day basis, such as containers, cranes and lifts.
Service stations, he said are currently classified by the Bank as retail operations, but DBN has provided financing for these enterprises as well. He also said the Bank provides finance for peripheral enterprises, such as repair facilities, and professional services required by the sector. DBN previously also inked an agreement with Namport to finance qualifying companies engaged in providing services to Namport.
Larger enterprises with complex financing requirements are offered structured financing packages by the Bank. These packages can consist of a mix of asset finance, commercial property development finance, and operating capital.
SMEs, defined by the Bank as companies with an annual turnover of less than N$10 million would be serviced either by the newly-established DBN SME Centre, or through its regional offices in Walvis Bay or Ongwediva.
Describing the range of products offered by the Bank, Mutumba listed installment sales agreements, term loans, property development finance and performance guarantees. He mentioned contract (tender) based finance in terms of which Bank finance is repaid by the contractor or entity awarding the finance. He added that the Bank also finances management buy-ins and buyouts.
In closing Mutumba said the current recession is lifting, and in order to make the best use of opportunities, transport and logistics enterprises should prepare plans now to make the best use of improved economic activity, rather than risking lags in competitiveness.
He concluded by urging the transport and logistics sector to make use of the Bank’s open door policy, and expect more from the road ahead.