WINDHOEK, November 30 — According to the United Nations, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and micro-enterprises make up over 95 percent of all enterprises worldwide, contributing significantly to non-farm employment and Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In Namibia, SMEs play a pivotal role in shaping the nation’s future and realizing the Government’s Vision 2030 Agenda, aiming to transform Namibia into an industrialized, food-secure, and prosperous nation.
Namibia is strategically positioned to harness the potential of its SME sector. By nurturing and supporting these enterprises, we can unlock a future filled with innovation, economic growth, and abundant opportunities for all Namibians. Bank Windhoek recognizes this and actively aligns with Namibia’s National Development Agenda to support the SME sector. Notably, Bank Windhoek’s SME Division celebrates a year of noteworthy achievements, underscoring its commitment to supporting businesses and driving economic growth.
Throughout 2023, the Bank’s SME Division demonstrated a keen understanding of the unique challenges faced by SMEs. Notably, the Bank actively participated in the SME Economic Recovery Loan Scheme, a collaborative initiative introduced by the Namibian Government in partnership with several local banking institutions, including Bank Windhoek. This scheme aims to stimulate economic growth and job creation by providing additional funding to SME businesses to meet operational expenses, acquire machinery, and retain employees during challenging financial situations.
To date, Bank Windhoek has assisted 111 SMEs with a total value of N$152 million in SME Economic Recovery Loans, with an additional loan valued at over N$11 million approved and pending disbursement. These funds were disbursed to SMEs in good standing with the Bank, meeting the Scheme’s requirements.
Collaboration and information-sharing sessions have been central to the SME Division’s strategy over the past year. Strengthening ties with stakeholders, the Division engaged in various information-sharing sessions with the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB), One Economy Foundation, and the Financial Literacy Initiative. This collaborative approach deepened the understanding of SME challenges and how financial institutions can assist them in navigating these hurdles.
To ensure universal access to information, Bank Windhoek’s SME Division hosted information-sharing sessions in Windhoek and Northern Namibia. These initiatives aimed to equip entrepreneurs with financial services knowledge and skills. The well-attended sessions underscore the Bank’s commitment to continuing such events nationwide in the new year.
Looking ahead, Bank Windhoek’s SME Division remains committed to fostering growth and prosperity for small and medium-sized enterprises. Despite challenges, Namibian SMEs have shown resilience and innovation, proving to be a vital source of new job opportunities. Their agility and local community connection makes them a crucial platform for empowering women and youth, contributing to reducing unemployment. As a proud Namibian financial institution, Bank Windhoek will persist in partnering with, supporting, and developing SMEs.