Namibia: German Investor in Micro-Finance Bank Has No Plans to Stick Around Long
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Namibia, August, 06 2009 - NAMIBIA'S first micro-finance bank, Fides Bank Namibia, launched on Tuesday, is not just good news for those without access to formal banking services, it may prove to be an investment opportunity for its clients in the future.
Currently, the major shareholders in the groundbreaking initiative are the German Development Bank (24,9 percent), French financiers I&P (22,45 per cent) and Belgian-based social investors Volksvermogen NV (16,67 per cent). The remaining 35,98 per cent is owned by Swiss Microfinance Holding (SMH), Fides's investment holding company.
According to Thomas Lendzian, Fides project manager in charge of the creation of the micro-bank, the German Development Bank is the only shareholder with no plans of sticking around for the long term.
The overall strategy of the Development Bank is to kick-start the project. Once it's established, they take their money elsewhere to finance other initiatives," he explained. The other shareholders are all long-term committed," he said.
Regarding the possibility of selling shares to the bank's clients, the majority of whom do not have access to formal banking services, Lendzian is optimistic. "There's nothing concrete right now. We know it's something that Namibia would like to see, so we'll see how we can do it."
The German Development Bank plans to sell its shareholding after five to seven years.