Building a balanced financial sheet without requiring further financial participation from the Government is one of the visions newly-appointed Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) chief executive officer (CEO), Martin Inkumbi, expects to achieve in his five-year reign.
Inkumbi was unanimously chosen out of six other strong candidates to head DBN after being its acting CEO since the beginning of this year. His acting position had been prompted following David Nuyoma’s departure.
The new CEO acknowledges the support he has received from the shareholders and the bank’s staff since January. He has been working in the financial sector for over a decade now. He is, however, not too new to what is expected of him, as he has worked for financial institutions, including Nedbank as a commercial credit analyst; Bank of Namibia (BoN) as an economist research officer and then as a financial market analyst before moving to First National Bank (FNB) Namibia.
From FNB Namibia, he moved to DBN in 2006 where he started as a portfolio manager. He has since risen through the ranks to his current position and is thus confident the lessons he has learnt throughout the seven years will come in handy in his five-year stint at DBN.
According to him, working towards a sound financial balance sheet will mainly be achieved through taking on sustainable projects, practicing good governance and attracting private investors.
Apart from that, he notes, the bank should invest in building technical abilities by enforcing a corporate finance unit with financial skills able to deliver good financial services.
DBN provides funds to the private sector for start-ups and expansions, equity deals, bridging finances, enterprise development finances, trade finances, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), public private partnerships (PPP), public sector infrastructure and local authorities. It also provides bulk funds to responsible micro-finance providers.
In this regards, Inkumbi admits matching the public’s high expectation in terms of funding projects will be a challenge: “The public has high expectations for the project loans from the bank and are always disappointed whenever it does not get approved. However, for the bank to approve a loan, one has to follow its criteria and present a workable proposal.”
To improve the entrepreneurs’ chances of landing their lack for funding, the bank presents ways in which they could improve their portfolios.
To achieve Vision 2030 goals, Inkumbi says they have aligned a five-year strategic plan, which emphasises on supporting the main sectors that have been identified as the main economic drivers, such as manufacturing, transport and logistics.
In the first quarter of this year, DBN approved N$75.8m in loans. The biggest chunk went to construction while in the second quarter, it approved N$207m for the same. The highest chunk of the latter amount was allocated to transport and communication.
Khomas Region, in Inkumbi’s point of view, has always been the most dominant in loans approval, followed by Erongo, which materialises at the transport hub of the southern regions, thus opening a market for entrepreneurs. Otjozondjupa and Oshana regions are also some of the active performers when it comes to entrepreneurial activities.
Inkumbi was born in Elim Village in Omusati Region 41 years ago. He completed his secondary school at the German Private School (Deutsche Hohere Private Schule) where he was one of the first 20 pupils to be accepted at the school under the English medium branch.
He graduated from Cape Town University (CTU) with a bachelor of commerce and then completed a postgraduate diploma in banking and finance from the University of Natal, both from South Africa. He is also armed with a Master’s degree in financial economics from the University of London, United Kingdom.