Namibia: Private Capital to Fund N$5bn Green Economy

11 December 2020

The Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF) says an envisaged investment of N$5 billion into a programme called the New Green Economy (NGE) 2030 will come from private capital to be generated by the South African-based Growth Catalyst Fund which is owned by a businessman in that country named Vuyo Jack.

The funds are then to be deployed by the fund's own instruments and not the EIF.

These statements were made by EIF CEO Benedict Libanda in response to an article in The Namibian titled "Govt N$10 billion deal linked to South African businessman", which Libanda said contained gross factual inaccuracies.

Libanda continued that the EIF, through its mandate to address climate change, environmental sustainability and development, will only provide technical support to the programme and that expenses aligned to services only cover transportation, daily subsistence allowance, and accommodation for the staff members of the EIF.

"To date, an amount of N$144 000.57 was spent on staff members of the EIF for stakeholders consultations and accommodation as part of the NGE Programme. No payment has been made to the Growth Catalyst Fund or to Mr Vuyo Jack himself, and the EIF has no such obligations under the MoU. The EIF can avail this information to The Namibian and the public," read Libanda's statement.

Libanda explained that in February this year, Cabinet took note and supported a presentation on the NGE as one of the interventions to propel economic growth in Namibia. "Besides having low carbon outcomes, the programme is characterised by maintaining, enhancing, and where necessary and feasible, rebuilding natural capital as a critical economic asset and source of public benefits, especially for the poor and disadvantaged Namibians," he stated.

Cabinet then directed the environmental and fisheries ministries to oversee implementation, led by the Growth Catalyst Fund, while the EIF is to provide technical coordination and stakeholders' engagement. On 26 February 2020, a budget-neutral and non-financial binding MoU was signed between the EIF and the Growth Catalyst Fund.

"Contrary to the article, the government of the Republic of Namibia is not expected to contribute capital to the programme as the NGE 2030 Programme is budget neutral. The only expected involvement from the government is to deal with policy bottlenecks broadly and nothing specific to the NGE 2030 Programme," reads the statement.

Libanda also refuted allegations in the recently published article that the EIF is a "cash cow" of the political elite, saying; "This statement is false, sensational, unfounded and damaging to the reputation of the Fund and Namibia as a destination for sustainable investments. In fact, the resources of the EIF have benefited more than 200 000 Namibians, mainly subsistence farmers and natural resource reliant communities in Namibia. Over the past eight years, we have consistently produced unqualified audits on an annual basis. These accountability documents are available for public consumption."

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