By Bank Windhoek’s Head of SME, Financial and Data Analytics, Bianca Janse Van Vuuren.
As we celebrate Micro, Small and Medium-sized (MSMEs) Enterprises Day commemorated on Tuesday, 27 June 2023, it is a timely opportunity to appreciate the tremendous impact of SMEs within Namibia’s economy.
SMEs drive the Namibian economy, contributing substantially to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and providing employment for a significant portion of the workforce. With nearly 40 000 SMEs actively contributing to the national economy, they play a pivotal role in shaping the country’s future and realising the Government’s Vision 2030 Agenda, which aims to transform Namibia into a healthy, food secure and prosperous nation.
Despite facing various challenges, Namibian SMEs have proven their resilience and ability to innovate, remaining a vital source of new job opportunities. Their agility and close connection with local communities also make them a crucial platform for empowering women and the youth, resonating with the global theme for MSME Day 2023. MSME Day serves as an essential beacon, highlighting the immense contributions of SMEs to economies and societies worldwide. It emphasises their transformational potential and the need for inclusive, sustainable support systems.
Namibia is well-positioned to capitalise on the strengths of its SME sector. As we commemorate MSME Day 2023, let us acknowledge the power and potential of SMEs. By nurturing and supporting these enterprises, we can unlock a brighter future filled with innovation, economic growth, and abundant opportunities for all Namibians.
The United Nations General Assembly designated 27 June as MSMEs Enterprises Day to raise awareness of the tremendous contributions of MSMEs to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The United Nations said that MSMEs account for 90 percent of businesses, 60 to 70 percent of employment and 50 percent of Gross Domestic Products (GDPs) worldwide.
Our continuous support
Bank Windhoek actively supports the SME sector in line with Namibia’s National Development Agenda. Our organisational purpose of being connectors of positive change is brought to life through various SMEs support and sponsorships. We believe these opportunities bring about a positive outcome for the selected SMEs and ultimately lead to the growth of their respective industries. For instance, Bank Windhoek recently announced that it donated N$ 100 000 to the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board’s (NIPDB) Know to Grow High Potential Pool and so far, three Bank Windhoek SME customers were selected to participate at Africa’s Big 7 (AB7) Trade Exhibition in Johannesburg, South Africa. The event allowed entrepreneurs to connect directly with buyers across Africa. It enables them to source products, develop new partnerships, and conclude export and import deals. The participating MSMEs were selected from the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board’s (NIPDB) existing Know2Grow High Potential Pool (K2G HPP), a specialised programme to assist MSMEs with significant export potential.
Since March 2023, Bank Windhoek has disbursed millions to support the Namibian Government’s Small-Medium Enterprise (SME) Economic Recovery Loan Scheme launched in February. The SME Economic Recovery Loan Scheme is an initiative the Namibian Government introduced in partnership with several local banking institutions, including Bank Windhoek and the Bank of Namibia. It aims to stimulate economic growth and job creation by providing additional funding to SME businesses to enable them to continue to pay their operational expenses and to retain and pay their employees, also referred to as working capital.
As a proud Namibian financial institution, Bank Windhoek will continue to partner with, support and develop SMEs because they play a crucial role in the Namibian economy through value creation in various sectors and assisting in reducing unemployment. Happy MSMEs Enterprises Day.