Two years have passed since the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) published the booklet entitled Credit Delivery Systems for Small Enterprises in Namibia. That booklet has proved to be one of the most widely sought publications of the FES, which is not surprising particularly for people working with small businesses. Finance still constitutes one of the main bottlenecks in the development of the small business sector. Consequently, information on financial services is highly appreciated, and it is essential that the information provided is correct and updated to keep abreast of institutional and political changes.
In 1997 and 1998 we observed important developments affecting the small business sector. The Government of Namibia published its well-intentioned small business policy, while the Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) was formally registered as a network of support institutions and new financial programmes emanated from different partnerships between government, NGOs and the financial sector. In view of these developments the JCC deemed it necessary to update the old booklet, to integrate new institutions and to restructure the section of the booklet dealing with the political environment and financial services.
The present publication, entitled Financial Services for Small Enterprises in Namibia, attempts to cover current information needs. The authors, C. Tonin, P. Dieci, A. Ricoveri and S. Foresi of Comitato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo dei Popoli (CISP), and D. Hansohm of the Namibian Economic Policy Research Unit (NEPRU), are themselves involved in small business credit programmes and/or research, and may be considered as experts on the subject in Namibia. The main strengths of this study are the descriptions of the various programmes and the evaluations of important issues such as borrowing conditions and default rates. This information is not only relevant for analysing the support structure in Namibia as compared to that of other countries, but it is also of value to micro and small entrepreneurs who could use this publication to gain an overview of the available financial options. Of course, further information should be sought through direct contact to the service-providing institutions. In this regard, the newly established JCC office may be willing to lend a helping hand to interested entrepreneurs.
The FES, established in Germany in 1925, has been present in Namibia since the country gained its independence in 1990. It supports Namibias nation-building and development process. Our programme of co-operation with Namibia is aimed at fomenting the political, economic and social transformation of the society in order to create democratic and representative structures. The integration of the different social groups and economic sectors in Namibia is considered as one of the main development tasks to be achieved through our co-operation programme.
The FES therefore supports small businesses in an indirect way by strengthening the capacity of service providers to the sector and by trying to improve the general conditions for small business development on the national and local levels. The FESs collaboration with government, the JCC and the Namibia National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NNCCI) is seen as a key factor for the formulation of partnerships to tackle the limitations to small business development. The provision of adequate financial services is but one aspect of developmental programmes and partnerships, but without doubt it is one of the most important for the development of the small business sector. I am sure that this study will contribute much to the exchange of experience and help in the co-ordination of efforts by the different stakeholders.
Dr Michael Langer
© Friedrich Ebert Stiftung | technical support | net edition fes-library | Mai 1999