In its fight towards sustainable development through green economy, the Environment Investment Fund (EIF) in the 2012/13 financial year, invested in 23 various projects to the tune of N$7.5m.
The chairman of board members, Theofilus Nghitila, notes as a developing country, Namibia is severely threatened by the effects of climate change and desertification. Therefore, its impact on factors such as food security, human health and economic activity are alarming. EIF has thus advocated for a localised response and a grant-making facility.
“The grants have benefited approximately 5 800 people with at least 135 full-time jobs created in the green sector, so far. Importantly, the type of projects approved demonstrate that green investments contribute to reduced environmental damage while boosting economic growth and creating jobs, thus achieving sustainable development for Namibia. Currently, creating jobs within the context of a green economy is an essential and effective response to the unemployment challenge,” Nghitila says.
Some of the projects it has funded include the Institute for Management and Leadership Training for the Lüderitz bio-system leadership training project to the tune of N$330 320, the Tses integrated bio-system project to the tune of N$275 825, Lerico Events and Safaris for the Eco-kids project in Oshikoto, Karas and Khomas regions for a combined N$496 800.
Grant applications EIF receives are mostly from the Khomas Region, followed by Zambezi, Omusati, Oshana and Erongo while Kunene and Hardap are the lowest in applying for the grants.
EIF offers the grants to the private sector and individuals within Namibia to primarily fund activities and projects that protect the fragile Namibian environment; maintain biodiversity, come up with innovative approaches to environmental management and enhance the economic development of the country.
EIF CEO, Benedict Libanda, stresses there is a need to empower people by challenging their conventional thinking to become true custodians of their own environment in a perpetually changing world.
He states; “It is with this belief firmly embedded in our action that EIF, in its infancy, embarked on a remarkable year of growth characterised by concise responses to strategic goals, a wealth of ideas and lessons learnt, passion for service delivery and innovation. One of the earliest financing mechanisms developed for the EIF were the grants, for which the first call came in February 2012 and the second one was in February 2013. The proposals received a phenomenal response across the targeted funding areas.”
EIF has also moved into acquiring needed and qualified human capital in the areas of project development, monitoring and evaluation, risk analysis, communications and corporate affairs, as stated in its latest financial report.
“With the addition of these special sets of skills, the Fund has distinguished itself as an instrument with the capacity to engage and reach out to corporate entities across a wide range of industries; and provide an analytical oversight over funds committed, projects funded and impact recorded,” Libanda says.
Together with the SME Bank, EIF also introduced the Green Soft Loans in September to provide incentives for businesses to reduce their impact on the environment by adopting eco-friendly practices and operations and to provide an estimated Namibian household with access to funds for green technologies.