Staff Writer

Agribank launched the women and youth loan scheme in Windhoek on Monday, with relaxed conditions to encourage participation and enhanced financial inclusion.

The bank said the product aims to enable the majority of women and youths who are unable to access affordable financing for farming purposes.

“While current financing for the youth is not at an optimal level, thus the Agribank women and youth scheme is flexible in that it provides relaxed conditions for funding. The purpose of the scheme is to promote financial inclusion, economic empowerment, employment creation as well as to stimulate Namibia’s economic growth.”

Eligible candidates that are set to benefit from the Agribank scheme are women and young Namibians or permanent residents aged between 18 and 35 years.

The entry age is capped at 18 years and in case of partnerships, 80 percent of partners should be between the age of 18 to 35 years in order to qualify.

In case of limited companies, 80 percent of the directors are required to be between the same age threshold, while the age limit for women as well as professionals in the agriculture and related fields is not limited.

“Other requirements of this scheme include business registration, licenses or permits as well as certificate of incorporation, memorandum and articles of association and identification documents for all the directors. New and existing businesses are eligible, subject to financial viability and development impact. The target group can benefit from all Agribank loan products with the exception of debt take-over and debt consolidation, but preference will be given to climate resilient projects, agro-processing, poultry and intensive farming projects.”

Speaking at the launch of the scheme, the Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Technology (MICT), Emma Theofelus commended Agribank for initiating the women and youth scheme noting that these financial solutions are developmental in nature and government as the shareholder of Agribank is pleased with the launch of this scheme.

“It’s pleasing to know that Agribank has taken a bold step to encourage women and youth by designing a scheme that furthers the objectives of financial inclusion as you all are aware that agriculture is the backbone of our economy and source of sustenance of many livelihood in Namibia,” she said.

She therefore urged women and youth to utilize this opportunity provided by Agribank to empower themselves and become successful agripreneurs.

“Let’s show our elders that we too can make a difference and that we can take up farming as a business, not only to sustain ourselves but contribute to the national food security as well,” she said.