French development agency collaborates with DBN to fund project-based economic research
The French development agency (AFD) and Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) have signed an agreement in terms in which AFD will provide a N$5 million grant for two DBN research programmes investigating opportunities in the fields of affordable housing and the development of Namibian women entrepreneurs.
The agreement was signed by Development Bank Chief Executive, Martin Inkumbi, French Ambassador to Namibia, HE Sébastien Minot and AFD Regional Director for Southern Africa, Bruno Deprince.
Speaking about the research, Inkumbi said the institution is not just a source of finance but also a knowledge bank and brain trust for the development of economic activity. Although the bank may have the financial and administrative capacity, the development impact depends on the ability to bring the financial resource to bear in a knowledgeable and effective manner.
In terms of low-cost housing, the Bank will seek to understand market impediments to develop low-cost housing schemes, means to incentivise the construction of low-cost housing schemes and appropriate financing products to individuals to purchase such properties.
The field of women entrepreneurs is investigating dedicated finance and required support programs for women entrepreneurs. The research will strengthen DBN’s impact by creating market profiles of the women segment, developing tailored products as well as understanding barriers to economic inclusiveness.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minot said to be honoured to witness a new step in the Franco-Namibian cooperation. Although AFD has been active in Namibia since 1998, it is the first time that a project will be conducted in cooperation with DBN.
He is looking forward to engaging in new opportunities that will strengthen the ties between the two countries. Minot insisted on France’s commitment to target through cooperation essential challenges and sustainable development goals as SDG 11 on sustainable cities and communities and SDG 5 on gender equality. In 2021, the French Embassy to Namibia initiated the Fem-Tech project was created to support and develop innovative Namibian female tech entrepreneurs.
As AFD counts developing access to affordable housing and women empowerment among its strategic priorities, the delegation is excited about contributing to that new project. Deprince also insists on the future of this partnership as the results of the financed studies and analysis could help develop new financial products to address the identified needs within the project.