Development Bank of Namibia has inaugurated its expanded office in Walvis Bay on 14 February 2022.

The office is expected to serve towns in the Erongo region as well as some entrepreneurs and enterprises in the Kunene region.

In his opening address, Chairperson of the DBN Board of Directors, Sarel van Zyl, described Erongo as a very important region for economic activity. It holds the Port of Walvis Bay, one of the most significant points of entry to Namibia.

The coastal town is also an important hub for intra-regional trade. It is a major source of industrial and commercial output, and is a very popular tourism destination, not only for local and regional tourists, but also for international visitors from all over the world.

Through its economic activity, Erongo supports a large concentration of Namibia’s population, all of whom are beneficiaries of development.

Since its early inception, Van Zyl continued, the Bank has been actively engaged in finance for the region. Early projects included Aqua Utilities to semi-purify water for Walvis Bay, as well as cranes for NamPort. The Bank has also made extensive investments in the Erongo tourism and hospitality industry.

He said the Bank recognized the need for operational capacity in the region by opening an office in 2014, and to address expectations of substantial growth, the Bank has now developed this larger office.

Officially inaugurating the office, Walvis Bay Mayor, Trevino Forbes, described Walvis Bay as a microcosm of Namibia, pointing to its tourism and hospitality industry, transport and logistics as well as manufacturing and light industry.

However, he pointed out that Walvis Bay also reflects poverty experienced in Namibia. He said there is a need for a balanced approach to development. In order for development of enterprises and infrastructure to be of value, the initiatives also have to be of value to the residents in the vicinity, in this case Walvis Bay.

He went on to describe the needs of Walvis Bay that would improve the socioeconomic wellbeing of residents, especially expansion of residential areas to Farm 37 to alleviate population pressure in Kuisebmond and Narraville.

The expansion, Forbes said, should include provision for medical, educational, commercial and recreational facilities.

He called on Development Bank to assist with development of the town, and pledged Council accountability and integrity in dealings with the Bank.

Talking about Development Bank activity in Erongo, DBN CEO Martin Inkumbi said the region is the second largest beneficiary region after the Khomas Region, however factoring in finance for the NEF strategic fuel storage facility of N$4.2 billion, the region received the highest amount of finance in Namibia.

Inkumbi concluded by saying that the Erongo office also receives some visitors from the Kunene Region, and is planned to serve as a future base for visits to //Kharas and Hardap.

In the photo: Walvis Bay mayor Trevino Forbes officiating at the occasion of DBN’s expanded office for Erongo.