CABINET has tasked the Environment Investment Fund of Namibia to facilitate and raise N$5 billion in low-carbon industries for the next 10 years.
The environmental fund is working on this in collaboration with the Growth Catalyst Fund.
This forms part of the initiative for the environmental fund to work with both line ministries and businesses to strengthen climate change and low-carbon investments for greater alignment with all dimensions of the 2030 Agenda.
This was said by the fund’s chief executive officer, Benedict Libanda, at the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals Impact Facility (SDGIF) yesterday.
The necessary financing is part of the fund’s partnering with the SDG impact facility.
“I would like to outline the EIF’s unique offer to finance towards a sustainable future and to achieve the SDGs. That ‘offer’ involves concrete, straightforward assistance that we currently give our partners,” he said.
To secure the sustainable development outcomes, the environmental fund has introduced the sustainable utilisation of natural resources and energy finance programme.
This is a N$700 million credit facility from the French Development Agency with three participating local banks.
“To that end, the EIF has a climate change portfolio of over N$700 million. We can leverage such a partnership and translate this knowledge into SDG financing,” Libanda said.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade established the impact facility.
The initiative is in partnership with the EIF and Standard Bank Namibia.
The facility is set to provide mentorship grants and debt financing to women and young people in business, social enterprises and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
This is to address the key challenge of small businesses, which is access to affordable finance.
The first call, a two-year pilot programme, intends to reach 100 MSMEs with grant support coupled with business development support services offered by Empretec Namibia under the ministry.
The minister of industrialisation and trade, Lucia Iipumbu, said the facility will strengthen the technical operations of local content development and drive the implementation of the country’s growth-at-home strategy under the 2012 industrialisation policy.
“The facility will promote innovative financing vehicles that combine capital with different risk-return expectations to meet investee needs while furthering development objectives,” she said.
The SDG impact facility is expected to open market opportunities for the private sector by identifying environmental, social, and governance investment opportunities in our local economy.
The UNDP’s resident representative, Alka Bhatia, said the impact facility seeks to develop and promote the support of small businesses by combining capital and technical expertise tailored to meet specific financing needs.
“This can contribute to more inclusive growth, with a strong focus on scaling up MSMEs to have a high socio-economic impact that can turn them into potential suppliers for local and regional value chains. The support will contribute to ensuring that MSMEs take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area,” Bhatia said.
Standard Bank Namibia’s head of personal and business banking, Mercia Geises, said the bank is committed to small businesses and has to date extended payment holidays and loans worth N$52 million to small and medium enterprises to survive the Covid-19 storm.
“It is worthy to emphasise that despite these dire times, Standard Bank is one of few financial institutions that still does contract financing. It underlines our further commitment to create employment and revive the economy,” she said.
Geises said the impact facility that focuses on boosting businesses that work towards realising the sustainable development goals is therefore topical and timely.
“Across Namibia we see great examples of the potential of green and blue economies – from lodges constructed with sustainable building materials to conservation agriculture,” she said.