Windhoek — Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) Senior Manager: Corporate Communications, Jerome Mutumba, has been visiting regional capitals of north-eastern Namibia in order to stimulate demand for development finance. The visits began in Rundu on February 5, continued to Nkurenkuru on February 6, and ended on February 9 in Katima Mulilo.
Talking about the regions, Kavango West, Kavango East and Zambezi, Mutumba says they hold significant opportunity for development, in terms of infrastructure and enterprise, however he notes that demand for finance can be strengthened, based on demand from local authorities and entrepreneurs.
Mutumba says that calls for finance from the regions are low in relation to their potential for economic activity. He illustrates this with the fact that, since inception, there has been no call for finance for tourism and hospitality. This flies in the face of the combination of tourism and hospitality potential, and the bank's ability to provide tailored finance, which is flexible, and meet the needs of the tourism industry in other regions of Namibia. The same, he says, is true of other sectors.
In reaching out to the north-eastern regions, Mutumba said the bank not only showed its capacity to provide finance, but also challenged entrepreneurs to come forward with their business plans to translate them into operational opportunities with the aid of DBN finance.
The bank, he says, seeks not only greater levels of economic activity spread across the regions, but also a spread of sectoral activity.
The three regions, Mutumba says, are connected by the Kavango River, and this offers opportunities for coordination of activities that the bank may finance. Tourism might explore and further develop the river as a travel route, which can add value to tourism in the three regions. He also points to the riverine fishing industry, which is a source of fish regarded as a delicacy in many restaurants across Namibia. This, he says, indicates the need to explore potential for processing and packaging the fish.
Mutumba added that Nkurenkuru is a particular hotspot for development. As a recently proclaimed regional capital, the centre offers numerous opportunities for further development. This includes excellent possibilities for tourism and hospitality, wholesale and retail, and social enterprises such as private schools and private medical facilities.
On the topic of infrastructure finance for north-eastern Namibia, Mutumba said the bank is one of the central agencies tasked with contributing to development of infrastructure. In this light, he encourages local authorities in Zambezi, Kavango East and Kavango West, to approach the bank.
The construction of a road, he noted, stimulates well-being and enterprise at either end, and at all the centres alongside it. Servicing of land, and construction of housing, are important elements in the quest to improve social well-being, he continues. Local authorities can draw on the bank's expertise in the field of infrastructure financing as a pathway to development.
Mutumba concluded that local authorities and entrepreneurs should view the bank as a partner in achieving the goals of development of their respective regions. In order to develop the three regions, the bank sees potential for cooperation and, consequently, expects more applications from the regions.