As a major player in the domestic corporate and Investment banking space, RMB Namibia has committed to unlocking new opportunities in the Namibian aviation industry by providing innovative finance solutions.
This was shared by RMB Namibia Head of the Investment Banking Division, Jason Shikaleko during a panel discussion at the recently concluded Namibia Aviation and Connectivity Forum, held in Windhoek.
The forum, which was a first of its kind for Namibia, aims to create a platform where key industry players and stakeholders share, tackle, rethink and put into motion ideas on the trajectory the aviation industry, and its related ecosystems will take over the next few years.
It further seeks to cement the industry’s role as key to Namibia’s economic recovery and growth, as well as drive the revival of aviation and other ancillary industries, such as tourism, after the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We pride ourselves in developing a globally competitive Namibia, so it is not hard to see why infrastructure development is close to our business. As a funding opportunity, we see it as a clever combination of development finance and sophisticated investment banking. We have been very busy in the aviation sector, and even after the Covid-19 pandemic, our outlook remains the same, mainly because at the top of all our solutions, we apply traditional values and innovative ideas,” Shikaleko explained.
He added: “What this means is that every opportunity – be it infrastructure or logistics, we have the discipline of looking broadly at these investment cases so that the due diligence that we do and the technical expertise that we apply aren’t simple to assess if they can repay us but to try to understand whether this is solving a meaningful problem out there. When we talk about lending to the sector, we look at what the risk parameters are, our solutions are then designed to follow these risk avenues. We are also very competent at drawing in other capital pools, such as the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and Development Bank of Namibia (DBN), which is always important to better deliver the best funding solutions to these investment cases,” Shikaleko said.
Furthermore, while responding to a question from the audience on the financing of aircraft, Shikaleko emphasised this is an emerging opportunity locally, but that it is probably where the market is heading, given the developments that are coming.
“A registry would be a good instrument to perfect collateral for Africa and something that’s in use in SA – but locally, RMB has not had any meaningful opportunity that requires us to rely on this,” he said.
Meanwhile, Verengai Ruswa, Namibia Aviation and Connectivity Forum Project Lead expressed gratitude to RMB for their contributions towards the aviation industry.
“Success of the aviation industry relies heavily on close partnerships with the financial services industry. RMB has a track record of being a partner of note in supporting the growth of the industry even during the Covid-19 pandemic with support, which included funding the expansion of the Hosea Kutako International Airport. The forum is honoured and grateful to have continued to hold hands with RMB as we define the path the industry will take going forward,” said Ruswa.
Namibia Airports Company (NAC) CEO Bisey /Uirab shared the same sentiments, adding that RMB, which represents FirstRand Namibia’s activities in corporate and investment banking, has been a long-standing partner of the NAC.
“RMB played a significant role in sponsoring the just concluded Aviation Forum, where we brought together all the key role players in the aviation sector, and the contribution of RMB has made it possible that the event was a great success. We look forward to strengthening the relationship with RMB going forward, and we are confident that this forum will continue to create great opportunities for many Namibians; therefore, RMB remains our partner of choice,” said /Uirab.
The Namibia Aviation and Connectivity Forum took place from 16 to 18 November at the Safari Court Hotel.
The event included 35 renowned locals, regional and international speakers on topics ranging from regulatory reforms, training and skills development, route development, regional and international connectivity and infrastructure investment, amongst others.