The Environmental Investment Fund (EIF) approved a total of 49 projects worth N$13 million, with an estimated 18 985 Namibians benefitting from these projects and a total of 498 jobs created.
This information was revealed in the EIF 2013/2014 annual report that showed that the fund has since February 2012 facilitated the funding of environmental and sustainable development projects.
The fund whose functions include raising local revenue through the introduction of statutory fees and levies, provide for sustainable financing to the poorest sectors of society and reducing the impact of unsustainable economic practices.
EIF’s head of Communications and Corporate Affairs, Lazarus Nafidi said that the fund has made strides with very little. “I’m proud to say that the fund has achieved quite a lot in a very short period of time with the little we had,” he said.
The report further noted in part that the fund has been awarded for its innovativeness twice consecutively as it won the Global Sustainable finance award in June 2013 and taking the runner up position in the category Best Innovation in Sustainable Financial Products and Services for it Green Soft Loan Scheme jointly with SME Bank in June 2014.
The partnership with SME Bank in September 2013 saw the fund develop a soft lending credit facility that enabled qualifying individuals to obtain loans to purchase and install renewable energy technologies, the report elaborated.
SME Bank’s role in this initiative saw the bank acting as a financial intermediary providing credit at subsidized interest rates and relaxed terms for households and individuals.
The report added in part that a total of 23 households benefited from these loans out of 39 applications, the 23 approved Green Soft Loans were valued at over at N$1 021 989, 65.
Of this amount, N$551 440.82 was spent on solar home systems, with N$690 907.13 having been spent on solar pumps, N$14 156.45 spent on solar freezers and N$584 348.23 the report stated.
Nafidi explained that the grants the EIF gives are a catalyst for sustainable development, “the fund gives these grants to aid sustainable development, it is not an investment product thus we don’t expect the recipients to pay back the grant we only want them to report back on how the money has been used, he stated.
The fund supports various other sectors also which amongst others include natural resource management, green technology and low carbon development, tourism development training, research and education.
Two of the funds success stories, Benz Manufacturing Woodwork which makes all kinds of furniture from old crates and pallets collected from various areas, and Greenfield Fertilizer CC which specializes in the production of organic fertilizer both received loans above the 1 million mark.
Both these EIF funded businesses are from the natural resource management sector.
Another notable sector is the training, research and education sector which saw the EIF award bursaries worth N$1.3 million in the reported year and N$1.2 million for the year 2015.
Funding from the EIF also went to the Gobabeb Research Training Centre and GreenCycle Investment CC which is conducting research on a waste tyre recycling plant.