A year of Development Bank milestones

December 17, 2014, 5:31pm

A year of Development Bank milestones

DBN CEO Martin Inkumbi talks about Bank's evolution and successes in 2014


Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) CEO, Martin Inkumbi, has characterised 2014 as a year of important milestones for the Bank. He says that the Bank has benefited from strategies developed in previous years, and the implementation of strategies in 2014 has shaped the Bank's future.


Successful bond issue


Inkumbi said the Bank's first private debt issue, in the form of N$ 200 million promissory notes, was fully subscribed on 24 November 2014. He said the success of the debt issue showed that investors have confidence in the capability of the Bank to deliver acceptable returns while fulfilling its mandate to develop Namibia.


He said the debt issue has far reaching implications for finance in Namibia. "Although DBN has not actively positioned itself as a special purpose vehicle for Regulations 15 and 28, full subscription shows that the Bank can fulfill needs for a home for capital as required under the regulations," Inkumbi said.


"What investors are telling us," Inkumbi continued, "is that they have confidence in the Bank's governance, the qualities of its Board, its strong track record and its ability to manage its balance sheet."


N$ 2 billion balance sheet and strategic refocusing


On the topic of the DBN balance sheet, Inkumbi said the Bank's assets have passed the N$ 2 billion mark. This, he said, represents a growing resource for development finance.


He said the structure of projects listed on the balance sheet was responding to the Bank's focus on larger entities within the manufacturing, transport and logistics, and tourism sectors, as well as infrastructure.


"Although we have not reduced our interest in servicing SMEs, the additional focus on those sectors has strengthened the balance sheet. We view the focus on those sectors and infrastructure as catalytic, not only as they are mass employers, but also as they enable development of the economy as envisaged in NDP 4."


Erongo development


Inkumbi went on to say that the opening of the Bank's new Erongo office is an important part of the refocusing. He said Erongo should be viewed as a gateway region for other regions in Namibia. As enterprise and infrastructure are stimulated around the port and the mining sector, opportunities emerge for enterprise in other regions.


"In the past, the Bank serviced the Erongo region through its Windhoek headquarters, but the new office has been a success, and enterprise and local authorities are responding well to the enhanced physical access," Inkumbi said.


Catalytic innovation


Talking about the Bank's focus on catalytic innovation, Inkumbi said that 2014 was extremely successful in two aspects.


Firstly he highlighted the Bank's finance for Omburu Sun Energy. He said that the solar energy generator will contribute to the pressing need for greater energy independence, and said the project is particularly valuable as it opens the door for finance of private sector energy generation.


Secondly Inkumbi pointed to the addition of the Innovation Award in the third annual Good Business Award. "The scope and range of projects received for consideration show that an innovative mindset is thriving, and that there are significant opportunities for the financial sector to consider," he said.


"DBN places a great deal of emphasis on innovation as a catalyst for economic development, and the successes of 2014 have provided us with valuable experience for the future," he continued.


A culmination of 10 years


Commenting on the 2014 successes of the Bank, Martin Inkumbi said that the successes of the Bank were a fitting accompaniment to the Bank's 10th anniversary. "Every year has provided us with opportunities to develop our operations, capacity and experience, but 2014 has been a stand-out year," he said.


Inkumbi concluded by thanking his Board of Directors and the Bank's management and staff for their dedication and for a highly successful year.