Deloitte is a game changer and the recent announcement of the exaltation of one of their senior managers as their new partner is proof.

Just as cream rises to the top, so has Abel Akayombokwa who has been elevated to the top echelons of the firm after satisfying his colleagues that he had what it takes to strengthen the leadership team in pursuance of positioning Deloitte as the professional services firm of choice.

“I remember interviewing when he was joining Deloitte as a trainee back in 2003. I am pleased with what he has achieved through hard work and dedication. It is satisfying to see people develop. As a firm we are proud of our record in qualifying and developing young Namibians.” says Deloitte managing partner, Junius Mungunda. Deloitte boasts excellence in the disciplines of auditing, tax advisory, risk advisory, public sector consulting as well as forensic auditing and Abel’s appointment as a partner will further strengthen the Namibian partnership in these disciplines.

In his new role as an auditing partner, Abel will oversee teams that will serve both private and public sector entities in Namibia. On his part, the Caprivian-born and bred -welcomes his appointment with excitement as it holds a lot of significance in his personal and professional life.

“Firstly, I see it as a personal achievement, there are very few people who get to this level. Secondly, I see it as an opportunity to make a difference in the way I serve my clients as I can now make certain decisions I could not make before,” he humbly submits.

The youthful Abel is yet to hit his 40-year mark and according to him, that young people assume influence positions is a step in the right direction for Namibia.

“I take my appointment very positively, as it is an encouragement to the young people that when you have the abilities, the skills and the qualifications, you can achieve a lot; you can grow in the Namibian space and that is very important. Secondly, I believe that young leaders bring in a different perspective in terms of how we look at things, as you might appreciate that we have different generations. So it is the fresh perspective, which gives new direction - the success of any organisation is dependent on its people,” emphasises Abel.

Abel is very much aware that his road to success was not a lone battle but has received considerable support from others, particularly his family over the years, “I am very thankful for the family that I have, I always look forward to seeing them after being bogged by work; my kids who are forever happy to see me and most importantly my wife. Becoming a CA is a long route, it takes a lot of time out of a marriage relationship and time is sacrificed but in all this, she (my wife) stood by me. It fulfills the saying that ‘behind every successful man, there is a woman’.”

For someone who only came across accounting while studying for his Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Namibia (Unam), this is a tale to tell. In his formative years, the only profession he could attach himself to was being a veterinary doctor borne out emulating their neighbour in Katima Mulilo but all that is now history.

After completing university studies, Abel joined the City Savings and Investment Bank (CSIB) in 1997 as an internal auditor and this hardworking and diligent man rose through ranks, holding positions such as an audit manager. However, when the bank began to merge with other entities, he took the risk, resigned and went back to school; the University of Natal in South Africa where he completed his Bachelor of Commerce Honours (Accounting) degree after which he began his articles with Deloitte in January 2003 and come 2006, he became a qualified chartered accountant.

Deloitte allowed him to grow professionally to the last position as a senior manager before being appointed partner.

Asked what must have made him draw his colleagues’ attention, the humble Abel says, “I am a self-driven person, if I set out to do something, I achieve the set goals. In addition, I have to deal with people from diverse backgrounds internally and externally.”

According to him, being a chartered accountant is a rewarding profession for a number of reasons - chief among them that one can always work anywhere in the world and that CAs deal with top quality clients, thus rubbing in high levels of development most people can only dream of.

Abel, however, echoes similar concerns of the dire shortage of chartered accountants as a huge set-back in the development of the country. According to research, he says, Namibia only has 310 CAs; meaning that the ratio is therefore one CA to 6800 citizens, while South Africa’s ratio is one CA to 2000 citizens, yet they are still crying of a shortage of CAs.

Addressing the shortage of CAs requires a holistic plan and step number one would be acceptance by role players that there is a problem. Secondly, as Abel points out, there is a strong need to appreciate that it takes nine years to train as a chartered accountant in Namibia while in South Africa it takes two years less.

This means that bursaries and sponsorships should go beyond the undergraduate degree, “There is a huge difference between someone who has a BCom. and the one who has gone through traineeship.” He urges the Ministry of Finance to emulate the South African Revenue Service (SARS), which has embraced the value of CAs by being among the largest employer of CAs in the country, “Year in year out, they always have a surplus while our Inland Revenue does not even keep up with the collection. We hear of deficits and other administrative challenges; all this is due to shortage of skills.”

On the African Renaissance, Abel is well aware of the potential in propelling development. There is an ubiquitous evidence to support this assertion as Abel is of the opinion that to realise this potential and enumerate full benefits, “Leadership” is key. This means that policies should be formulated to pave way for economic development. In addition, the regional integration agenda would be a vital step in the right direction only if this were followed by meaningful action.

Despite the presence of all the world’s big four professional firms; against the backdrop of a small population, they all have a fair share of the market. To this, Abel admits that the environment is highly competitive, however, a strong presence of the private sector, which would stimulate economic growth, is what is needed to sustain professional service firms.

Asked where he would like to see Deloitte moving towards, being a one-stop shop in offering professional services in tandem with local conditions and circumstances - more importantly - he cites a steady growth for which he would like to be remembered for being part and parcel of.

On a parting short, he gives guiding principle that everyone is able to go beyond their imagination. It had never crossed his mind when he was growing up in Caprivi, he would one day hold such an executive position, “We don’t imagine enough.” PF

Ms. Carina McTigue
Standard Bank appointed Carina McTigue as the Head of Management reporting in February 2012.

McTigue’s responsibilities now involve providing useful information and analysis to business in order to assist the decision-making process across all areas of Standard Bank Namibia.

She holds a BComm degree in Management Accounting from the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Mr. Albie Basson
A Chartered Accountant by profession, Basson was recently appointed on Development Bank of Namibia (DBN)’s Board.

He is currently the managing director of Koenigstein Capital and was the former president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Namibia.

He has worked in the financial services industry for more than 35 years.

Mr. Jules Baruani
Standard Bank Namibia (SBN) recently appointend Jules Baruani as Administer of the Core Banking System and UNIX (AIX) System Administrator.

Jules holds a Masters degree in Computer Science from the Stellenbosch University, a Post-graduate Diploma in Mathematical Sciences (University of Cape Town) and a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Mathematics (UNAM). He is also an Oracle certified field engineer, certified UNIX system and network administrator in Solaris 10.

Jules looks forward to a new, challenging and enjoyable environment at SBN, where he aims to strive to make positive contributions to the IT department and Standard Bank as a whole.

Mrs. Antonia Kapia
The MVA Fund recently announced the appointment of Mrs. Antonia Kapia to its Board of Directors, with effect from June 2012.

Mrs. Kapia is a graduate of the University of Northumbria, United Kingdom (England), where she obtained a Master of Arts Degree in International Business Administration. She also holds a Degree of Bachelor of Economics obtained from the University of Namibia.

The Board of Directors, Executive Leadership Team and Staff of the MVA Fund welcomes Mrs. Kapia and wish her continued success as she embarks on her journey at the Fund.