Housing for skilled employees important for development

Talking at a groundbreaking ceremony for 112 erven in Katima Mulilo, Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) Head of Lending, John Mbango, explained the importance of serviced land and affordable housing for managers and highly skilled employees.

Mbango said that while the Bank’s provision of finance for serviced land and affordable housing is contributing to adjustments of prices in the real estate sector and broadening the base of home ownership, concentration of housing in major centres poses a challenge to development of economic activity which must be addressed.
He explained that the core of the challenge lies in migration of managerial and professional staff and skilled labour to larger centres.
The influx of managers and skilled labour, Mbango said, places a degree of strain on larger centres, especially if employment is not readily available.
At the same time, the migration of the employee from the smaller centre deprives the town of a potentially valuable resource. Mbango pointed out that the employee is a centre piece of the enterprise or for public service delivery. The loss of the employee reduces enterprise capacity and / or delivery of services, may delay enterprise growth and may also have an impact on retention of jobs.
Conversely, construction of affordable housing may attract skilled employees to the smaller town, strengthening capacity and enabling growth.
Mbango said DBN strives to provide finance for serviced land and affordable housing in all the regions of Namibia and has an interest in regions with lower levels of economic activity.
Talking about the Katima Mulilo project, Mbango said that DBN sees the project as an investment in the future of Zambezi and the town of Katima Mulilo.
He went on to highlight four aspects that add to the impact of the project.
Firstly, there is an area set aside for commercial purposes. He said commercial tenants will provide employment and will add to the enterprise ecosystem of Namibia, by acquiring goods and services from local enterprises, further growing the potential for employment.
Secondly, there is provision made for education. This will make this project more attractive to families, and provision of edu-cation adds to the future pool of Namibian capacity, and future economic activity.
Thirdly, provision has been made for a health facility, which will be an additional benefit for residents and will also add to the sustainability of economic activity by preserving and improving health.
Finally, Mbango noted that a community is being developed. This community will create strong developmental synergies, in the form of economic activity and socio-economic wellbeing. Happy and healthy communities are a critical basis for the future of Namibia, he says.
Mbango concluded by calling on developers, local authorities and PPPs to approach DBN for finance. He said that the Bank has a wealth of experience and will endeavour to transfer understanding of its financial model to applicants.

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