The economy is growing at a rate faster than the official Gross Domestic Product growth statistic, and has the capacity to grow even faster, the managing director of a leading investment bank said this week. Speaking at the launch of RMB Namibia, geologist turned investment banker and managing director, Steve Galloway stressed the need for the private sector to start playing an active role in the development of the country.
First Rand Holdings launched its investment banking arm, Rand Merchant Bank in the country hot on the heels of a similar launch in Botswana. He said: “RMB [Namibia] is also heavily engaged in providing solutions in the infrastructure space where we believe there is a funding gap of between N$50 billion and N$60 billion, predominantly in the energy, oil and gas, port, rail and road, and water sectors,” adding that there is a general need for stakeholders across the spectrum to close the finance gap. “We need private public partnerships and we need vehicles to finance the gap,” he said.
According to Galloway, the economy has the potential to achieve growth rates in excess of 5% and was quick to shoot down forecasts by leading economists. “I have believed for some time that the GDP growth rate is increasing well above the 4% numbers quoted by economists and was pleased to see recent adjustments by the Bank of Namibia to high 5’s. A recent trip to all the major projects in the north, south and west, tells me that this is also conservative. Not only are these major project spends, they are also setting world class standards in technology, safety and innovation which Namibia can be very proud of,” he said, adding “You don’t build shopping malls at prevailing rates.”