French development agency, Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) have signed an agreement in terms of which AFD will provide €300,000 (about N$5,020,000) in grant funding for two DBN research programmes.

The programmes will be investigating opportunities in the fields of affordable housing and the development of Namibian women entrepreneurs. The agreement was signed by DBN CEO Martin Inkumbi, H.E. Sébastien Minot, French Ambassador to Namibia, and Bruno Deprince, AFD Regional Director for Southern Africa.

Speaking about the research, Martin Inkumbi said the institution is not just a source of finance but also a knowledge bank and brains trust for development of economic activity. Although the bank may have financial and administrative capacity, development impact depends on the ability to bring the financial resource to bear in knowledgeable and effective manner.

He went on to express his gratitude to AFD, French ambassador Sébastien Minot and the Republic of France.

Inkumbi also explained the need for research.

In terms of low-cost housing, the Bank will seek to understand market impediments to developing low-cost housing schemes, means to incentivise construction of low-cost housing schemes and appropriate financing products to individuals to purchase such properties.

“In the field of women entrepreneurs, the research is investigating dedicated finance and required support programs for women entrepreneurs. 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,” said Inkumbi.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, the French ambassador to Namibia, Sébastien Minot said he was honoured to witness a new step for 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 new opportunities that will strengthen the ties between the two countries.

As AFD counts developing the access to affordable housing and women empowerment among its strategic priorities, the delegation is excited about contributing to that new project.

Bruno Deprince, Regional Director of AFD for Southern Africa, also insists on the future of this partnership as the results of the financed studies and analysis could help developing new financial products to address the identified needs within the project.

“Agence Française de Développement is looking forward in implementing the results while being at the side of its new partner,” said Deprince.

In the photo: H.E. Sébastien Minot, French Ambassador to Namibia, DBN CEO Martin Inkumbi, and Bruno Deprince, AFD Regional Director for Southern Africa.