Finance to produce more Zambezi bricks
A new brickmaking enterprise in the vicinity of Katima Mulilo in the Zambezi region, has been financed by the Development Bank of Namibia to help alleviate the backlog in bricks as evidenced by the long waiting periods at existing brickmakers.
The Development Bank said this week the Katima brickmaker, East End Frontier Holdings, started by local entrepreneur Frans Kwala, manufactures and supplies bricks on a commercial scale since the huge demand in low cost housing is causing building delays.
Kwala assured himself of the viability of his idea by obtaining letters expressing intent to support the additional brickmaking capacity from various stakeholders. These included the Zambezi Regional Council, the Mafwe Tribal Authority and several private sector businesses in the regional construction industry.
After establishing a high degree of certainty that the enterprise would succeed, permission to occupy land from the Mafwe Tribal Authority was sought, and Kwala began to make plans to transport water, mine sand and lead electricity to the site for the envisaged plant.
The entrepreneur then turned to Development Bank for asset finance, which includes a brickmaking machine, molds for bricks and interlocks, a front-end loader and a delivery truck.
Initially wary of the application due to the existing brickmaking capacity in Katima, the bank investigated the viability of the business plan in terms of the market, access to utilities, availability of raw material, employment creation and managerial capacity. The business plan, as well as the letters of intent to support the enterprise convinced the bank of the project’s viability and it decided to go ahead with the financing.
What initially impressed the bank, said DBN Senior Communication Manager Jerome Mutumba, is the detailed planning and forethought that became evident in the application. Kwala impressed the bank by committing his own resources to the project, including obtaining land and initiating the process of obtaining water and electricity where utilities were not available. Kwala also offered collateral, a further sign of confidence in the viability of the project.
Mutumba challenged other entrepreneurs from Zambezi to look at opportunities, develop detailed plans based on their ambition, and to approach the Development Bank for finance. Zambezi, he said, has a high degree of potential for development of prosperous enterprises based on its growing economy, as well as its prime location for trade with neighboring countries.
East End Frontier Holdings through its brickmaking plant has created approximately 30 new jobs.