Select Page

‘Let’s develop’ is not a slogan; it is the catalyst for Namibia’s development

‘Let’s develop’ is not a slogan; it is the catalyst for Namibia’s development

By Dr John Steytler, Development Bank of Namibia Chief Executive.

Just over 6 months ago, I embarked on the challenging journey as the new CEO of the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN). A position I was honored to have been selected for. My predecessors Mr. David Nuyoma, DBN’s founding CEO, and former CEO Mr. Martin Inkumbi, certainly left some big shoes to fill. They created the foundation upon which our team at DBN is building. Consistently and continuously focused on and rolling out DBN’s mission; the Development Bank of Namibia strives to be recognized for its significant impact on sustainable socio-economic development and transformation in Namibia. It also fulfills the Bank’s vision; The vision of DBN is to play a leading role in Namibia’s sustainable economic growth.

I firmly believe that DBN must be; ‘the partner of choice for Namibia’s innovative development solutions.’ Alongside large-scale infrastructure projects and business development, we must be SME-focused. Where DBN specifically engages with female entrepreneurs and the Namibian youth and stimulate and create opportunities for them. That’s why my first 6 months were spent with the whole DBN Team creating a roadmap that embodies the values of ‘Let’s Develop.’

Namibia is in a critical socio-economic phase that can bring positive change through enduring growth, but this growth needs to be stimulated from the ground up. No Namibian must be left behind in pursuit of our economic development. President Hage Geingob, who sadly passed away earlier this year was a great champion of stimulating economic development. He passionately believed that it was the only way to build a strong and stable Namibian House, with room for every Namibian. We will continue to implement his vision.

Major Namibian oil and gas and renewable energy projects, as well as major infrastructure projects, are being developed, as we speak. At the same time, we cannot lose sight of the fact that an essential driver of socio-economic upliftment and development needs to focus on green industrialization and youth and female empowerment through business ownership. This development and growth need to happen in the rural parts of the country and not just be urban-centric.

Economic development and growth require proper planning. It’s no good just wishing for development. My excellent colleagues at DBN gave me a crash course in the Bank’s overall mandate, operations, culture, and financial status, including the challenges that DBN is facing. We cannot shy away from challenges and issues, and collectively, we can conquer these challenges.

One of the first activities DBN embarked on was a strategic journey to shape the Bank’s future. This was not a task undertaken by a few individuals; it was a collective effort. As CEO, I can only affect change if every colleague believes in the direction that we are mapping out. We are ‘pulling together’ and crafting DBN’s five-year strategy, emphasizing that each employee’s input, collective wisdom, and insights are essential ingredients for creating and implementing a successful and sustainable strategy and a business plan. I believe this is the foundation upon which we build a High-Performing and agile organization. How else can we as the custodians of socio-economic development motivate and assist SMEs, and entrepreneurs in developing themselves? It is also one of the reasons DBN fosters a work environment that centers around the well-being of the employees. A happy employee is a high-performing colleague.

DBN’s strategy formulation started with departmental strategy sessions that forged the Integrated Strategic Business Plan (ISBP). It is the roadmap for the coming five years and is flexible enough to adapt where and when necessary, without losing focus of our long-term mission and vision. Our organization engaged in thought-provoking and valuable discussions with internal and external stakeholders and partners. We are nothing without our partners and stakeholders and do not operate in a vacuum. The importance of DBN’s mandate cannot be denied, and this is why there were high-level meetings with President Mbumba in his previous role as Vice President, as well as with the former Head of State, His Excellency Dr. Hifikepunye Pohamba, the Prime Minister and, the former CEO’s of DBN. Our collaboration with our partners extends to engagements with the Economic Association of Namibia, the NSX, Foreign Embassies, High Commissions, SOEs, and development partners. All of whom play a vital role in keeping the focus firmly on socio-economic development activities.

We are not just a bank; we are the strategic partner of choice for public and private organizations, whether focused on developing large-scale infrastructure projects or SMEs. We value and nurture our existing partnerships and are always open to forging new ones. We intend to foster and support development, and we cannot do this without them.

One of the challenges we must tackle first is DBN’s Loan Book; we cannot begin to speak about growth and assist entrepreneurs from the grassroots upwards without knowing that our financial situation is healthy. A healthy Loan Book means we receive repayments and can continue the cycle of development and entrepreneurship. Recognizing the importance of the Bank’s sustainability, while contributing to Namibia’s national development impact, allows us to implement our five-year roadmap. It enables SMEs to take their concepts, ideas, and brainwaves and turn them into marketable services, activities, and products. This allows DBN to position itself as the ‘partner of choice’ for SMEs over the next five years.

It has been a busy and fruitful first six months, focused on ensuring that our mantra, ‘Let’s Develop,’ is not a hollow slogan but the guiding principle upon which we can base Namibia’s socio-economic development for the next five years and beyond.


About The Author

Guest Contributor

A Guest Contributor is any of a number of experts who contribute articles and columns under their own respective names. They are regarded as authorities in their disciplines, and their work is usually published with limited editing only. They may also contribute to other publications. - Ed.