The Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) has confirmed a facility to finance climate change adaptation, bolstering its long track record of financing beneficial environmental and social initiatives.
Explaining the facility, DBN CEO Martin Inkumbi said it provides an affordable and tailored financing solution for climate and environmentally friendly projects. The bank has previously financed low-carbon renewable energy generation, water reclamation for industrial use in Walvis Bay, water storage in Neckartal Dam and reclamation initiatives.
Inkumbi said that finance for climate adaptation is important, and there is a range of affordable financing instruments for such business projects.
The bank, he said, has already pioneered financing models for renewable energy, and is now setting its sights on, energy and water use efficiency as well as mitigating the effects of rising temperature.
On the topic of water, Inkumbi said the bank has financed large scale water infrastructure such as Neckartal Dam and Aqua Utilities which semi-purifies water for industrial use at Walvis Bay. However, he said in the face of prolonged droughts, there is an opportunity for enterprises to invest in water efficiency. Investing in technology and processes that are energy and water efficient reduces the amount of energy and water consumption per output for a business, which lowers production and or operational costs and improves profitability, he said
Although water efficiency will not alleviate drought, it can lead to improvements in enterprises bottom line, in addition to preserving the environment.
Inkumbi urged enterprises to examine their energy and water usage and develop innovative methods to reduce their water usage and associated costs.
He added that the bank has experience in water reticulation for local authorities and PPPs but said there was still scope for further development in terms of water recycling, reclamation and storage in abattoirs.
On the topic of rising temperatures, Inkumbi noted that there is a twofold cost. The first is the cost of cooling facilities, and the second is the cost of mitigating health issues caused by rising heat. The cost of cooling facilities adds to the cost of an enterprise. It also places a burden on power generation. By constructing plants and facilities with heat dissipation in mind, these circumstances can be mitigated.
He extended the benefits of energy efficient housing developments, explaining that incorporating heat dissipation would reduce the cost of running a household as well as improving the health of its residents. This, he said would dovetail well with the bank’s finance for affordable housing projects.
Asked about how the facility would benefit enterprises and initiatives, Inkumbi said that there is an understandable reticence to finance projects with unfamiliar financing outcomes. This was the case when DBN pioneered finance for privately owned renewable energy projects. The bank, however, de-risks innovative projects with extensive due diligence on innovation and absorbs, manages and learns from its risks. In this way, it hopes to pioneer finance for climate change adaptation that will make Namibia more sustainable.
Inkumbi called on engineers, architects, consultants and project managers to lean more towards energy and water efficient designs, and for businesses to approach the bank for finance. Although you may have reservations about pitching new technologies and techniques, the bank will give them consideration for financing if you can demonstrate their feasibility.