WASHINGTON, D.C., June 15, 1998 --- IFC has
made its first investment in Namibia’s financial sector with a US$1 million
equity investment, representing an approximate 20 percent stake, in Namibia’s
first indigenous life insurance company. The new company, Namlife, is the
result of a joint venture between a group of local Namibians with diverse
business interests; the African Life Assurance Company (Aflife), an indigenous,
black-owned South African life insurance company in which IFC holds an
8.5 percent equity stake; and IFC.
Aflife, which has considerable experience in working with low-income communities
in South Africa, will be Namlife’s technical partner and will provide
financial products to underserved sectors of the Namibian population.
Mr. Cesare Calari, Director of IFC’s Sub-Saharan Africa Department, said
that the project would be an important step in the development of local
expertise and full local participation in the financial sector of a relatively
young country that became independent less than a decade ago.
The Namibian President H.E. Dr. Sam Nujoma, the Chairman of Namlife, Mr.
Festus Nahola, the Executive Director of Aflife, Mr. Hugh Roberts, and
Mr. Solomon Asamoah of IFC’s Sub-Saharan Africa Department attended Namlife’s
launch in Windhoek.
Dr. Nujoma said he was supportive of Namlife’s aims and vision. He noted
that it was critical for the successful development of the Namibian private
sector that the indigenous population be included and benefit from this
IFC, part of the World Bank Group, fosters economic growth in the developing
world by financing private sector investments, mobilizing capital in the
international financial markets, and providing technical assistance and
advice to governments and businesses.