NAMIBIA – Namibia Post Limited (NamPost) and the French Development Agency (Agence Française de Développement (AFD) have finalised a N$235 million (US$15.76m) loan facility to finance the growth of NamPost’s microfinance business through its PostFin subsidiary.
The concessional loan, which is on-lended to PostFin, specifically targets NamPost’s microfinance activities aimed at pensioners. In addition, it supports PostFin’s strategy of targeting more vulnerable and underbanked segments of the Namibian population and reach a market share within pensioners of about 20% to 30% over the next five years.
“This loan to NamPost, through its subsidiary PostFin, will promote financial inclusion in Namibia by reaching out to thousands of pensioners who are considered as not bankable for credit reasons by banks and microfinance institutions,” French Ambassador to Namibia Claire Bodonyi said.
“It will contribute to the socio-economic resilience of Namibia and will, to a certain extent, mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 crisis, which makes access to financing even more challenging.”
Financial inclusion for individuals has increased remarkably in recent years and Namibia stands out for the high percentage of banked individuals.
However, a significant part of the country’s more than 150 000 pensioners remains a largely financially excluded segment, often overlooked by banks and microfinance institutions. This makes them financially vulnerable and unable to actively participate in the country’s economy.
“I strongly believe that pensioners have a great role to play in our society. This partnership with AFD, coupled with the expertise of our subsidiary PostFin in providing financial services to low-income populations, will enable us to support pensioners who wish to launch small business or simply improve their living conditions and those of their family members,” Nampost CEO Festus F. Hangula said.
According to New Era Live, AFD is also discussing with NamPost to provide technical assistance to the maximum value of US$255 000 (N$3.8 million) to increase PostFin’s practices in terms of client’s protection and support the diversification of its products, as well as cooperate with other microfinance stakeholders in Africa.
According to NamPost spokesperson Wilson Shikoto, the project is fully in line with the wishes of Namibian regulators and government to promote economic growth that will benefit the most vulnerable members of society and thereby enhance social inclusion.