The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), together with the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade (MIT) and their partners - the Environmental Investment Fund (EIF) and Standard Bank Namibia (SBN), launched the Sustainable Development Goals Impact Facility (SDGIF) on Monday, 2 November 2020. The SDGIF will be used to provide mentorship grants and debt financing to women and youths in business, social enterprises and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).Fulfilling the promise of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires multi-sectoral approaches that bring together expertise from a range of perspectives. Harnessing comparative advantages and working within the context of respective mandates can collectively make significant progress towards realising the vision of the SDGs. UNDP Namibia, in partnership with SBN, MIT and EIF, will initiate three SDGIF calls for proposals during the respective earmarked windows to provide competitive matching grant awards, as well as mentoring, capacity building and entrepreneurship development training to MSMEs. The grants are aimed at MSMEs operating in any of the targeted sectors of agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, renewable energy, information technology, and with a product or service on the market. By creating a two-tier structure, stakeholders are attempting to ensure that promising MSMEs can access capital through private financing and are supported, while those that show promise are also given an opportunity.
In Tier One, successful MSMEs will receive a one-off limited duration grant, usually covering up to 50% of project costs (or up to N$650 000 as appropriate) with the remainder to be matched by own contribution or loan from a financial institution.
In Tier Two for Vulnerable MSMEs, successful applicants will receive a one-off, limited duration grant, usually covering up to 90% of project costs (or up to N$50 000 as appropriate) with the remaining 10% to be matched by own-in kind contribution.
At the launch, Minister of Industrialisation and Trade Lucia Iipumbu reiterated that “The MIT’s Growth at Home strategy implores us that we look locally at how we can support our economy. To attain the noble objectives of our Growth at Home implies the need to ensure that all strategic levers to support and sustain enterprise development are fully embraced. The establishment of the SDG Impact Facility platform with our technical partner UNDP Namibia is, therefore, based on this premise.”
The minister further stated the business case for supporting initiatives with a direct link to the SDGs is strong and offers a compelling growth strategy for the private sector, as it opens new opportunities, enormous efficiency gains; drives innovation, and enhances reputations.
Also, at the launch, Alka Bhatia, UNDP Resident Representative for Namibia said: “The concept to building back better and growing our own sustainable future will require a collective effort to not only address immediate challenges but ensuring that the pre-existing inequalities are also tackled with as much vigour as we did with the pandemic. This period has reminded us of the importance of having robust and strong systems that are able to withstand shocks across our different sectors.”
Delivering the closing remarks, CEO of Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia Benedict Libanda stated that: “This partnership provides an excellent opportunity to scale up financing for sustainable development in Namibia. The Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia is honoured to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals Impact Facility as one of the four major institutional stakeholders. Getting financing right is critical to meet the SDGs and our Vision 2030. Domestic finance and international development cooperation nevertheless remain central for the achievement of the SDGs. In every country, domestic public finance, in particular, has been the largest and most important source of finance for sustainable development. Private sector presents a huge opportunity to accelerate the attainment of the SDGs. However, unlocking private investment has been a major challenge despite the fact that there is enough capital on the domestic market.”