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Investment based on financial innovation boosts economic opportunities for all

Investment based on financial innovation boosts economic opportunities for all

By John-Morgan Bezuidenhout, Investment Analyst at Sanlam Investments.

Namibia has long faced significant challenges concerning youth employment, income inequality, and low levels of productivity. Recent research by Statista and Piketty highlights the country’s high Gini coefficient, indicating that Namibia’s income inequality is among the highest globally only second to South Africa. However, Sanlam Investments, a key player in the nation’s economy, is taking proactive steps to promote inclusive growth and economic opportunities for all citizens.

The primary obstacle for ordinary Namibians to participate in local financial markets lies in the lack of opportunities rather than finance. Sanlam Investments aims to change this narrative by focusing on inclusive growth through its innovative approach.

Despite being blessed with abundant natural resources and attracting foreign investment, Namibia has struggled to attract capital for projects that could lead to inclusive GDP growth. Many companies, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, have faced funding challenges, hindering economic progress.

In response, Sanlam Investments launched the Sanlam Namibia Unlisted Debt Fund during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. This fund is designed to provide funding to small and medium enterprises, supporting economic growth in Namibia. Moreover, it meticulously finances businesses operating in sectors that have the potential to stimulate inclusive growth.

The Sanlam Namibia Unlisted Debt Fund provides offshore and local investors with the opportunity to earn annual returns that target prime plus two percent. The fund not only benefits investors with attractive returns but also helps talented Namibian entrepreneurs grow and scale their businesses. With an initial N$150 million already deployed into Namibian companies excluded from traditional banking, Sanlam Investments actively manages risks to offer investors favourable return dynamics and unlisted asset exposure.

Namibia’s pension fund assets account for 75.2% of its GDP, ranking the country in the top ten globally (OECD, 2019). As one of the custodians of these pension fund assets, Sanlam Investments recognises the significant responsibility the corporate bears in being a value-accretive force for both investors and Namibian citizens. This responsibility is of immense magnitude, and the company is committed to fulfilling it diligently.

Over the last two years, Sanlam Investments has funded projects that promote low-cost medical care, enhance food sustainability, adopt renewable energy sources, and provide affordable housing. By closely working with the management teams of these projects, Sanlam Investments ensures robust working capital management and profitability.

The company’s contribution to the private sector extends to targeting key sectors in the economy ripe for funding. The success of the Unlisted Debt Fund is underpinned by Sanlam Investments’ internal due diligence processes and the ability to recognise lucrative opportunities. With an ambitious goal of growing the fund to multiples of its initial size, Sanlam Investments aims to further unlock inclusive growth for Namibia and its citizens.

Financial innovation, driven by Sanlam Investments’ team of experts, holds the promise of a brighter economic future for Namibia by fostering job security and empowering local entrepreneurs to operate confidently in their respective arenas. As the company remains dedicated to its ethos of ensuring economic opportunities for all, it stands at the forefront of driving positive change in Namibia’s economic landscape.


OECDt (2019) Countries – Namibia. Available at: Namibia – OECD (Accessed: 2 May 2021)

Piketty, T., 2018. Capital in the twenty-first century. Harvard University Press.

Statista (2020) Gini Index Worldwide 2020, by country. Available at: Gini index worldwide 2020, by country | Statista (Accessed: 2 May 2021).

Namibia Statistics Agency (2020) National Accounts – Quarterly GDP. Available at: (Accessed: 2 May 2021)

Issued by Sanlam Group Marketing and Communications Department


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