Bank goes into green funding with French on-loan facility
An agreement between the French Government’s international development agency and a local bank, has brought a substantial amount of foreign capital into the local financial environment, to be deployed for the funding of so-called Green projects.
On Wednesday 07 June 2017, Bank Windhoek signed and agreement with the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) for a facility of Euro15 million.
The bank said on Thursday, it was approached by the French Development Agency with an offer to provide mid- and long-term facilities, including technical assistance, for lending to eligible projects in renewable energy, or projects that improve energy efficiency and the sustainable use of natural resources, particularly in agriculture and tourism.
Bank Windhoek’s Managing Director, Ms Baronice Hans, said, “We are proud of our association and partnership with the AFD. The loan facility will empower the bank to increase its lending to small-scale enterprises, amongst others, which is a very important sector in Namibia’s future economic growth and development. Bank Windhoek strives to be a catalyst for sustainable opportunities in Namibia and with partnerships such as these aim to empower the communities we serve.”
Called a “Sustainable Use of Natural and Environmental Finance” (SUNREF) agreement, the intention is that financing for so-called Green projects, will help to reduce the carbon footprint and energy intensity of the Namibian economy; and to secure energy from local small and medium-sized companies.
The French Ambassador to Namibia, HE Jaqueline Bassa-Mazzoni, said that she is convinced the agreement, supported by AFD and implemented by Bank Windhoek, will lead to great and efficient projects in the fields of sustainable development, green tourism and renewable energy. “I am proud of the SUNREF project as it perfectly complies with the objectives of the Harambee Prosperity Plan and the fight against poverty by supporting green job creation” she said.
Further, this type of financing will also be considered to leverage investments in the fields of sustainable agriculture and tourism to help structure these strategic sectors.
Finally, the funding is expected to provide replicable and innovative examples of what can be achieved between local banks and small to medium sized companies to ensure scalability.
The SME segment has been chosen as the funding target group specifically to maximise job creation. These conditions are captured in the agreement.
The agreement is further aligned to Bank Windhoek’s sustainability focus and the Bank’s commitment to combating climate change, together with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.
In the picture, from the left are, Bank Windhoek’s Chief Treasurer, Claire Hobbs; the bank’s MD, Baronice Hans; AFD Regional Director, Martha Stein-Sochas and French Ambassador to Namibia, Jacqueline Bassa-Mazzoni, immediately after signing the agreement.