By Confidente Reporter
THE Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF) last week in Paris signed a letter of intent with the French Agency for Development (AFD) worth N$675 million over a three-year period.
The letter of intent is a precursor to a formal agreement between the EIF and AFD, which will see the fund providing a technical facility for a green credit line through the launch of the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources and Energy Finance (SUNREF) Programme. Under the programme, selected financial institutions will provide concessional loans to finance renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and tourism business enterprises.
The signing took place during President Hage Geingob’s state visit to France, who was accompanied by the EIF Chief Executive Officer Benedict Libanda, and AFD’s director for Africa, Jean-Pierre Marcelli.
In his remarks Geingob said business and investment opportunities in the environmental sector were a key focus during deliberations between the Namibian business delegation and their French counterparts.
“Investments in wind and solar energy are central to Namibia’s quest to secure a reliable and sustainable power supply to spur industrialisation. We recognise that issues of environment and climate change adaptation feature highly in the country’s development strategies, which is also the reason why Namibia was one of the first countries to ratify the Paris Agreement on Climate Change,” said Geingob.
Speaking after the signing, Libanda was optimistic of the impending and immediate impact of the SUNREF Programme. “Preliminary estimations show us that the targeted sectors could contribute in the range of 3000 – 4000 decent jobs while steep gains on Pillar four of the Harambee Prosperity in terms of locally produced clean energy infrastructure could become a reality,” he exclaimed.
Libanda further called on local entrepreneurs to start identifying bankable projects in the areas of sustainable agriculture, tourism and renewable energy with the first call for financing envisaged for March or April 2017.
AFD is a financial institution and the main implementing agency for France’s official development assistance to developing countries and overseas territories. The SUNREF Programme has been set up by AFD as a green finance label with the aim to offer significant economic development potential through environmental integration. SUNREF is currently implemented across three continents with over 40 projects successfully realised. The programme offers a unique financing approach that integrates technical support and financing in order to meet the demand of partner banks and project initiators.
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