THE Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) has approved loans worth N$562,2 million for the transport and communication sector over the past nine years. DBN research economist Paul Egelser, in a media statement, noted that the transport and communication sector plays an important role in the national economic development agenda. He said the loans were issued essentially in support of enterprise development. "This was necessary to create an enabling environment for businesses and individuals to thrive in the Namibian economy. It impacts positively on jobs and it has multiplier effects, with enhanced benefits for different sectors in an economy," the research economist explained. According to Egelser, although it is possible to foster enterprises with finance, it is equally important to ensure that enterprises have the capability in terms of infrastructure, logistics and communication. He pointed out three key sectors targeted for development by the development bank - transport, infrastructure and communication, saying these areas should form part of the integral components of enterprise support. Egelser said corridors and communication between the towns or regions held economies of scale for development as they served more than one centre. "A road, for instance, benefits more than one centre. The intra-regional trade creates opportunities for different economic clusters, and this has a multiplier effect on the development dollar," he said. Sectoral allocations in support of enterprise included transport and logistical services, telecommunications, maintenance of infrastructure and port infrastructure. According to the bank's statistics, the largest regional allocations have gone to national projects (56,1%), embarked upon in the Erongo Region (21 ,5%); Kavango regions (10,4%); and Khomas Region (6 ,4%). Approvals to develop the enterprise environment have had a direct impact on 7 381 jobs, with 477 new and 1 684 temporary jobs created, and 5 220 jobs retained. "You need to look at the enterprise in the context of its environment. If you have a manufacturing enterprise in a region or town, that enterprise will need maintained roads for transport, transport capability, communication, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and good logistics. This web of requirements is fertile ground for enterprise development and project finance, all of which contribute to the economy," Egelser noted.
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