Local micro-finance facilitator, Kongalend, earlier this month received a considerable boost to its capacity when it signed agreements with local and international development partners. Kongalend strives to be a Tier-2 microfinance institution.
Kongalend Chairman, Tshoombe Ndadi, noted that “the power of partnership is what has always fuelled Kongalend’s progress; partnership with those who share its passion and commitment to contribute to the advancement of Namibia’s development aspirations.”
He gave credit to the Government Institutions Pensions Fund (GIPF) whose “bold decision to spearhead the investment of a portion of its assets into impactful, development-oriented, local enterprises through its unlisted investment programme” capitalized Kongalend’s microfinance operations under the KREFT; adding that “the partnership between Kongalend and the GIPF has empowered us to implement practical solutions for local challenges. This includes the establishment of Namibian-owned and managed financial institutions in line with the financial sector strategy.”
Deputy Head of Mission at the German Embassy, Ullrich Kinne said the Kongalend-SBFIC partnership complements Germany’s and Namibia’s long-term co-operation in the area of sustainable economic development and financial inclusion. “It was important that the traditional banking sector is complemented by microfinanciers, such as Kongalend, who provide appropriate financial products and services for an under-served clientele” he said.
Kinne added that access to financial services assists households to work their way out of poverty and dependency “on their own initiative and by their own means” and that therein lies the crucial contribution of microfinance to social development” noting that “the role of these financing institutions can be further improved and increased if they expand the services they offer.”
Relating how and why the partnership was formed, the head of division of the Savings Banks Foundation for International Co-operaton, Stefan Henkelmann, said their foundation was designed to enable and encourage low-salaried workers to save their hard-earned wages to best cope with the new challenges of urbanisation and industrialisation. “Today, the Savings Banks Finance Group consists of 417 independent savings banks which are still governed, in addition to more modern banking legislation, by Savings Banks Acts that constitute a pubic mandate to serve the communities in which they are located. What distinguishes this mandate is a commitment to a “double bottom line”, balancing profitability with outreach and concomitant impact within such communities to provide value-added services including financial literacy and practical advice to start-up and small businesses.”
The Savings Banks Foundation is involved in 32 projects in 28 countries.