19 Dec 2017 15:20pm
RUNDU, 19 DEC (NAMPA) The agricultural sector is expected to strongly support local economic growth as the trend in agricultural product prices in Namibia is expected to improve, Agribank of Namibia Chief Executive Officer Sakaria Nghikembua has said.
Nghikembua said this in a statement availed to the media on Tuesday reflecting on the year 2017 going into 2018.
He said the expected growth in the agricultural sector will partly be a response to the end of the El Niño drought that plagued the southern African region for two consecutive periods, 2015 and 2016.
Despite the promising economic outlook, growing national debt, fiscal consolidation and uncertainty with regards to the climate, remain downside risks to the economy.
Nghikembua said from a business perspective, the bank operates in a dynamic environment that faces fierce competition in the financial intermediation market, uncertainty in climate change, economic conditions, as well as disease and pest outbreaks.
This has prompted the bank to strengthen efforts aimed at increasing its market share, diversifying its loan portfolio, improving loan collections and building brand loyalty, while mainstreaming risk management in their business operations.
In terms of business prospects, we foresee growth resulting from a second consecutive year of normal rainfall, Nghikembua stated.
This is supported by a continued upward trend in producer prices across agricultural products.
We therefore look forward to growth in our market share over the next two to three years, he said.
Nghikembua added that pulling it all together, there is a promising future for the agricultural sector.
Heading into 2018, we would continue to play to our competitive advantage, pursue opportunities in the sector and mitigate risks in order to shape a promising future, not only for Agribank, but for the agricultural sector and the economy as a whole, concluded the head of the institution.