Development finance arrives in Rundu

WINDHOEK - Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) Head of Marketing and Corporate Communication, Jerome Mutumba, has confirmed that the Bank now has a permanent office in Rundu as of last week Friday.

Talking about the need for an office in Rundu, Mutumba said that the Bank recognises that its development impact is enhanced by physical presence. The Bank, he says, is in the process of rolling out offices in various parts of Namibia, in a manner calculated to reach the widest possible spread of regions and the largest segments of the private and public sectors.

In addition to its Windhoek head office, the Bank also has offices in Walvis Bay and Ongwediva.

Rundu, Mutumba continues, has a large population of more than 85 000 with a robust entrepreneurial culture, a high concentration of villages surrounding it which will benefit from development, as well as providing access to the broader populations of Kavango East and West and Zambezi.

Commenting on the expectation of finance in the north-east, Mutumba says, the Bank expects interest in SME finance in particular. Rundu, he says, has an organised culture of entrepreneurship present in its markets, and the Bank believes that these are ready to graduate to formal SME status.

Of existing SMEs, Mutumba points to a thriving retail and light industrial environment which can be further nurtured with finance. He says the Bank expects that its finance for retail and commercial property will be in demand.

On the topic of finance for local authorities, Mutumba says there is ongoing activity in the field of housing provision, however this must be complemented with provision of affordable land. The population of the area is spread along the east-west axis of the Kavango, and stimulus for development of affordable land and associated housing projects will lead to the spread of enterprise. In this regard, he says the Bank is open for applications for finance in unproclaimed areas, with the proviso that project promoters provide guarantees, or that collateral in the form of fixed property be held outside of unproclaimed areas.

Mutumba goes on to say that the rapid population growth, and associated growth in private sector enterprises, creates the need for local authority infrastructure such as roads, sewage and water. He adds that the Bank can also provide finance for establishment of municipal services, and can finance contractors who have received tenders or contracts.

Additional sectors with strong development potential identified by Mutumba are tourism and agricultural processing and industry.

Tourism enterprise development, particularly in and around Rundu, will bolster Namibia's ability to offer a route into the Kavango Regions and Zambezi. By upgrading and adding new hospitality and accommodation facilities, Namibia can better market Rundu � and potentially Nkurenkuru, capital of Kavango West � not only with more hospitality and accommodation, but also with a break in the long distance between Etosha and Katima Mulilo. This, Mutumba says, improves potential for road-based tourism.

Agricultural processing and industry, Mutumba says, is one of the Bank's emerging focuses. Adding value to agriculture makes the sector more sustainable, with benefits for those who use and remain on the land. This will not only alleviate urban migration, but will also provide incomes for youth and women, with potential graduation to the status of young entrepreneurs and women entrepreneurs. The desired overall impact is also food security. The fertility of the area along the Kavango holds strong development potential for the broader national economy, and should be the beneficiary of development finance.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia