The newly appointed Board Chairperson of the Agricultural Bank of Namibia, Mr. Josephat Mwatotele, has announced that financial sustainability, service delivery and socio-economic transformation will be the key focus areas during their tenure as Board of Directors of the Bank.

Mr. Mwatotele made the announcement during the inauguration of the revamped Agribank Rundu offices, on Wednesday, 15 February 2023.

During the occasion, the Board Chairperson stated that “for Agribank to continue to deliver on its agriculture development mandate and benefit as many Namibians as possible, now and for years to come, it calls for financial sustainability.”

Furthermore, Mr. Mwatotele emphasised that financial sustainability requires Agribank to stretch its limited resources in new and innovative ways (outside the traditional areas of business); being prudent in the use of available resources in a responsible and transparent manner including cost management; and growing its loan book and finding new ways to grow its capital base.

In addition, the chairperson also stated that financial sustainability also means that “clients need to honour their obligations and ensure timely loan repayments to the bank, as this is the only way we can make a wider and inclusive impact on agriculture and contribute to the development of our country.”

From a customer service perspective the focus will be on service delivery. To this end, the Bank is in the process of reviewing existing policies and streamlining internal processes that will make it much more agile and responsive to customer needs.

Thus, creating a functional service centre, such as the revamped Rundu office, is a good first step as it provides point of presence for facilitating such customer engagements, stated Mr. Mwatotele.

Agribank is a national development finance institution expected to play a catalyst role in addressing key national development issues such as food security, poverty reduction and employment creation within the agricultural space.

Thus, the focus on socio-economic transformation is on creating targeted interventions to ensure that the Bank achieves inclusive developmental outcomes.

At the same occasion, Agribank’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Raphael Karuaihe, reiterated the Bank’s role in the two Kavango regions, stating that “the two Kavango regions are strategic growth centres for Agribank, and we are confident that the visibly elevated office here will improve our service delivery in the regions whilst creating opportunities for growth.”

The Chief Executive Officer then continued to provide an update on loan disbursements in the two regions, indicating that the Agribank Rundu office currently serves 316 active clients with 494 loan facilities worth over N$154.7 million, whereby Kavango East region has the biggest number of clients standing at 305, worth over N$151 million, while Kavango West has 11 clients with a loan book value of N$2.9 million.

The keynote speaker at the inauguration of the revamped office, Hon. Bonifatius Wakudumo, Governor of Kavango East region, congratulated Agribank for being the catalyst for transformation in the agricultural sector, as embraced in its mandate.

“Over the past few months, we have noticed through various public fora that the Bank is gradually moving towards financial inclusion, and I want to take this opportunity to applaud you for innovating products that will address the needs of our citizens in the outer-lying regions in particular, and of all Namibians in general,” stated Wakudumo.

With Government’s emphasis now on value addition and growth-at-home, the Bank has accordingly realigned its strategy to ensure that it also plays a meaningful role in this strategic objective, by offering financing of value addition activities in the agricultural space.

Agribank’s loans can be utilized for purchasing farmland, production inputs, livestock, farming infrastructure, vehicles and equipment, biomass management, aquaculture, poultry, piggery, post-settlement support, as well as value addition through agro processing.

The Bank also provides training and mentorship services to farmers through the Agri-Advisory Services Division.

In this photo: Agribank’s board chairperson Mr. Josephat Mwatotele