By Bank Windhoek’s Sustainable Finance and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Analyst, Joachim Komeheke
The concept of sustainable development has evolved over the past decades. These changes are rooted in the global community’s numerous environmental and social awareness achievements. Namibia is an excellent example of how far we have come in driving sustainable development, particularly in ensuring the protection and conservation of our natural environment, an aspect enshrined in the constitution.
A great example is our pioneering community-based natural resources management which has progressed significantly since its launch in 1998, has gone to ensure conversation and creating income streams for the managing communities, which complements the country’s drive to alleviate poverty region-wide. According to Conservation Namibia, an approximate N$ 60 million is generated from tourism activities for conservancies and additional N$ 65 million paid in compensation by private tourism establishments to staff living within the conservancies on annual basis. This national drive to provide environmental and social protection and progression is supplemented by the country’s commitment to international cooperation by actively participating in international agreements and initiatives that focus on creating a collective positive impact on global issues such as climate change and sustainable development. It is important to note that only through collective contributions can we make impactful change at a local and international level. We have seen how the world has come together in various ways to ensure support is provided for those emerging nations that desperately need it. We have the United Nations agencies, for example, which have played an instrumental role in mobilising capital and other forms of support to ensure development programmes are implemented in these economies.
We have entered a new age globally, where there is a strong need to explore avenues for mobilising additional funding to finance sustainable development. Namibia is no stranger to having mobilised millions in climate finance and other types of finance that specifically target various elements of sustainable development. However, there is a need for self-reliance by creating economic opportunities that will attract more investments into the country and catalyse economic activity to grow the economy and direct those returns towards sustainable development outcomes. We should also remain cognizant of the fact that to drive and achieve specific development needed to ensure emerging economies effectively contribute to sustainable development, locally and internationally, it will require countries like Namibia to leverage natural resources that may be carbon-heavy, such as oil, and others such as wind and solar, which have strong mitigation capacity. This approach will enhance Namibia’s determined contributions and that of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region facing an energy crisis should independent producers leverage the energy exporting opportunities into the area brought forth by the Modified Single Buyer Model and the Southern African Power Pool. Yet again, opportunities such as these will require an array of funding types to come
together to create the needed financing structures that these innovative and futuristic projects will require to ensure their implementation.
Society has evolved through the years, and the needs of this current generation will require an evolution in the approaches we have taken previously to solve these needs. Today, we face unique challenges that, for many, require innovation, the coupling of various concepts, and project implementation partners to ensure they can address developmental issues sustainably. This is a time when governments alone cannot handle all the challenges brought by developmental gaps. The collective contributions from an array of mandates, especially those of the private sector, will be needed to ensure we can implement solutions to solve the challenges we face and exploit economic opportunities for the continued growth of our economies in the emerging world.
Financial institutions globally are working to direct funding towards areas of the economy that need investments; these are areas specifically focused on creating environmental and social progression, which are the core elements of sustainable development. As a connector of positive change, Bank Windhoek always looks to the future, ensuring that through our mandate, we create the opportunity for our clients to contribute to creating a sustainable economy, thus creating impact through collective contributions. Through our Sustainability Bond in the Financial Year 2022/2023, available on our website, www.bankwindhoek.com.na, we were able to finance 59 projects from an array of client segments who were able to make their contributions to creating a sustainable economy by investing in renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and irrigation and biodiversity.
Namibia is endowed with numerous potential opportunities that can catalyse economic activity within the country that will drive development and encourage investments into other facets of the economy that will bring forth impact and the social transformation that will alleviate the current challenges we currently face as a nation. It will take collective responsibility and action to ensure that we can mobilize the correct blend of funding and direct it towards where it is most needed while ensuring returns and the impact required are achieved to ensure sustainability.