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Letshego Bank Namibia secures US$30m facility to extend affordable housing finance

NAMIBIA – Letshego Bank Namibia, a commercial bank, and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to provide Namibians with affordable housing finance.

The IFC is a member of the World Bank group and is headquartered in Washington, DC, in the United States.

It offers investment, advisory and asset management services to encourage private-sector development in less-developed countries.

A statement from the bank says the agreement, according to which the IFC will provide a US$30 million (N$450 million) facility to Letshego to extend affordable housing finance to 4 000 Namibians, was made in August last year. At least 4 000 Namibians will benefit from the agreement.

“The IFC partnered with pan-African finance organisation Letshego Bank Namibia to increase access to affordable housing finance for thousands of individuals in Namibia on 11 August 2021,” said the statement.

“Although 78% of Namibians have a bank account, only 12% of households have mortgage-financed homes. The majority of Namibians do not qualify for mortgage loans from commercial banks because they are often unaffordable.”

Letshego registered two bonds at the Windhoek deeds office and the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform on 7 December 2021, implying applications can be made at any of the local branches at which the assessment process starts.

“Our strategic purpose is clear: We want to improve lives across the communities we operate in. Increasing access to simple and appropriate financial solutions for more individuals will enable us to deliver on this promise,” said Letshego country chief executive officer Ester Kali.

“By partnering with global institutions like the IFC, which shares our vision of achieving social impact through sustainable commercial strategies, we can unlock exponential value and the potential for us to do more.

“This is truly an exciting partnership and indeed the year of reimaging, in which we are shifting gears in the delivering of our products and services to you, our valued customer. We appreciate the support, synergy and partnership the IFC brings to our strategy.”

Letshego had in last year received a US$50 million loan IFC to boost affordable housing lending in Namibia to 4,000 new home owners with the potential to expand their partnership to other countries.

As a Pan African operation, Letshego is primary listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange with a listing on the Namibian Stock Exchange of the local entity under Letshego Holdings Namibia Ltd. The group has in 10 other countries including Mozambique, Kenya, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Access to affordable housing has been an issue in many African countries, with private developers focusing on the higher end of the market, often leading to an oversupply even as countries continue to suffer a housing deficit.

Although 78% of Namibians have a bank account, only 12% of households have mortgage-financed homes. The majority of Namibians do not qualify for mortgages from commercial banks because they are often unaffordable.

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