AGRICULTURE BRUISED BUT NOT HURT
THE agricultural industry has been more resilient during the global economic meltdown than other sectors of the economy despite the impact of the 2008/09 floods which significantly reduced crop production in communal areas. This, in a continent whose investment in the industry is stagnant as a result of low savings and limited access to credit, inadequate infrastructure and excessive post-harvest losses due to inadequate storage and processing facilities.
Agricultural Bank of Namibia (Agribank) the country’s sole agricultural finance institution played a vital role during this period. Because food security of the country is related to agricultural sustainability, the Bank in this interview reveals how it differs from other micro-finance banks to benefit the country.
Ambassador Leonard Iipumbu, Chief Executive Officer of the Agribank provides an insight on how his institution is developing agricultural financing strategies for sustainability. Iipumbu explains how his institution plans to enhance agricultural productivity in Namibia.
Iipumbu restructured Agribank five years ago amid massive apprehension on the bank’s future and its impact on the agricultural sector in Namibia. In 2009, Agribank experienced growth of 70% in total loans granted for the period from January to December 2009. The bank granted loans totaling N$135.9million to 504 beneficiaries in 2009 compared to N$79.9million in 2008.
Because food security of the country is related to agricultural sustainability, Agribank in this interview reveals how the tables have been turned in enhancing agricultural productivity in Namibia.
PF: What is your mandate as Agribank CEO and how do you want your performance to be judged?
LI: My vision of the Agribank into the future is to provide sound leadership and build a strong financial institution, through the prerequisite of a high return on human capital employed, enhanced effectiveness, efficiency and professionalism, as well as increased performance and accountability at all levels, in order to satisfy the needs of our clients and stakeholders, fulfil our mandate and commit fully to the requirements of good corporate governance.
Agribank Act No. 5/2003, as amended, provides the legal framework for regulating and expanding the business operations of the Bank and to expand the business operations of the bank to be responsive to the changing environment. The Act mandates Agribank to advance money to persons or financial intermediaries to promote agriculture and activities related to agriculture. In this regard, the Act complements the existing policies on land reform, the agricultural policy, the National Development Plan III and Vision 2030. As you are aware, the NDP III & Vision 2030 encourages the achievement of a growth rate in agricultural productivity and production that is higher than the population growth rate in order to promote sustainable agricultural development.
At the end, with the necessary support I am given and receiving from shareholders, I am confident that my personal commitment to ensure that the bank meets its mandate is achieved.
PF: How is Agribank investing in agriculture for today for a prosperous nation tomorrow?
LI: Agribank is a versatile institution that raises money on the money market for on-lending to clients such as farmers, corporate projects, the Green Scheme, aquaculture, companies, co-operatives and individuals with vested interest in agriculture development for sustained food security and job creation. In addition to raising money in the market, we receive on and off budget allocation from government through the Ministry of Finance. In the past the bank also raised money from local commercial banks and other financial institutions. We have also obtained funding from the African Development Bank, where we have three lines credit which have helped us lend money to farmers to either buy land or improve production.
PF: Who are Agribank’s clients and can anyone qualify to be financed by the bank?
LI: Agribank provides credit to small-scale farmers, resettled farmers, emerging farmers, aquaculture, co-operatives, commercial farmers, companies, the Green Scheme, and individuals for sustained agriculture development to increase food security and job creation. Our clients are Namibians with vested interest in agriculture development.
PF: Is it true that some prominent Namibians who have received loans from the bank have not honoured their repayments?
LI: Prominent black Namibians are Namibians who qualify for loans for business purposes from any financial institution for the development of the country as long as they meet the criteria. Agribank will have no choice but to assist prominent Namibians who meet the criteria and qualify for loans for agricultural development and I am quite satisfied with their repayment track record. All our clients are treated the same. In terms of lending or debt recovery, if any of our clients are not paying we have policy in place to deal with it.
PF: How do you make sure that your financing is made out to individuals with necessary agricultural skills and know-how?
LI: Normally at the beginning of the application, the applicant is thoroughly assessed to determine a client’s credit worthiness. In case of land purchase, we don’t require collateral but in other loans, applicants give us security which might be a house or any other form of investment to guarantee a loan. Once we are convinced that one can manage a loan, we approve it but still go back to see how the person handles the business, wether they have the necessary livestock at the farm or if there is enough input such as fertiliser and seeds.
With some farmers where there is potential, we assist them to increase the loan so that the farm is fully utilised.
Agribank also conducts inspection and valuation trips to all clients to ascertain whether the client information is true and to determine wether the production capacity on the farm can sustain loan repayment.
PF: So what other measures are in place to make sure your loans are coming to fruition?
LI: Agribank has policies in place and carry out inspection trips to determine the financial capability of the clients before and after the loan is approved. In a way, we monitor the client security to ensure it does not deteriorate beyond the value of the loan.
PF: Do you think emerging farmers can meet the challenges of sustainable food production, wealth creation and value addition in Namibia?
LI: Farming is a business, and agriculture as I have just mentioned earlier, weathered the global economic crisis. This means that means farmers were able to adjust to economic environment. As such, we did not experience massive lay-offs in the industry. I am on record saying that every piece of land should be made productive. Agriculture is dynamic; therefore training becomes quite important to catch-up with the evolution of agriculture so as to continue to make profit. Yes, Namibian emerging farmers to a larger extent have what it takes and with continuous boost of farming knowledge, we will be able to do much better tomorrow to achieve value addition. There are emerging farmers already doing quite well and contributing to national economy.
PF: Why did the Namibian banking sector not suffer the same fate as the aggressive US sector, where the financial meltdown tore the loan book?
LI: Well it means the Bank supervision of the Bank of Namibia is strictly adhered to.
PF: Does Agribank have a facility for every resettled farmer? Where do you draw the line?
LI: A certain piece of land can be used for agricultural production if it is fertile and if identified as suitable. The bank and the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement signed a Memorandum of Agreement in May 2008. We agreed to put N$10 million each for three years to establish a Post-Resettlement Fund.
A total of 320 resettled farms have benefited from the Fund. This program continues until 2011. We will do a thorough assessment to see if the money was put to good use and determine whether the scheme should continue or to check if the farms can now operate without support. A total of N$60 million is earmarked for this scheme to increase production. In short, we have a production loan facility for resettled farms.
PF: In 2009, there was an improvement of 70% loans granted, compared to 7% of 2008, what were the limitations in 2008?
LI: In 2008, the bank concentrated on employment of new staff and induction. We spent much time putting our human resource base into place. Most of the staff were not yet familiar with the process and procedures, so we had a low performance as the majority were still undergoing induction. We were coming from a restructuring process but in 2009, we started to work. Everyone began to understand the vision, the work and the mandate of the Bank. In addition, we also saw an increase in loan demand, especially on our production loan. That is why we shot up from 7% to 70%. I must say that the year 2009 was our best year in terms of loan service provided to our clients.
PF: How many loans and advances have been written off by Agribank in your five-year reign and what do you attribute that to?
LI: A total of N$160 million provision for losses were made during my reign. The provision for losses were made against advances for grape companies at the Orange River, group loans for small scale farmers under the National Agricultural Credit Program (NACP) and the ostrich industry.
PF: Besides the Grape Industry along the Orange River, which other industries has the bank rescued from collapsing?
LI: Given the important role that the grape industry plays in the creation of jobs and its contribution towards GPD, it is imperative for Agribank to provide short relief time and again to industries which plays a significant role in the economy of the country – so you cannot regard it as rescuing them from collapse. We don’t just write off loans because it’s a project. We look at the importance of the industry’s relevance to the economy and its balance sheet.
PF: Recently, you warned farmers, especially white farmers in the South from cancelling loans?
LI: Yes, during the restructuring process, most of our staff that took voluntary retrenchment ended up working in other financial institutions.
There was mere speculation that Agribank was closing down.
Most farmers in the south especially, moved their loans from Agribank without following proper procedure and I felt that they needed to be told the truth in order to make informed decisions. That is why I addressed the issue at a Farmers’ Day in Keetmanshoop. We are the only agricultural bank in Namibia and offer lower interest rates than other competitors.
The bank reviewed and re-introduced a product called ‘Debt-Take-Over’ where debts incurred by farmers from financial institutions for the purpose of agriculture are taken over by the Agribank. We are proud to see farmers responding positively to this product.
PF: How best can farmers be advised to meet their debt obligations on time without rescheduling?
LI: Yes. Farmers have to come up with production plans and need to master the cycle of marketing thier products. For instance, they need to know their calving period so that they can determine their marketing strategy which includes the date and the month of sales. That way, they can be able to come and ask us to shift their repayment period to suit their marketing strategy. We will not hesitate assisting those farmers with clearly defined marketing strategy.
PF: With the envisaged lump sum compensation for war veterans, the DBN initiatives and now Agribank, are you not afraid that more resources might end up going to the same people since it all revolves around resettlement and reform?
LI: Every Government initiative has its implementation framework and mandate. Reform is taking place in every industry or sector to facilitate the implementation of the Government programmes in order to accelerate the achievement of NDP III and Vision 2030. I am definitely not afraid.
It does not matter what you call it but at some stage any industry or sector must meet its target. Depending on the different implementation framework, there is a complimentary role between each other. We will all look at the viability of the business. Together with DBN are involved in the funding of the Mariental Dairy Farm and our role is complimentary and good for development.
PF: Previously, attempts to engage the private sector and other financial institutions to finance certain agriculture and aqua-culture and related projects have failed. What do you think caused this?
LI: It is well-known all over the world that agriculture is heavily subsidized by the government to provide relief against natural and man-made disasters. As a result of this vulnerability of the industry, financial institutions may find it difficult to finance such high-risk sectors.
PF: Which sector does Agribank receive more applications for financing?
LI: For the past three years or so the bank experienced a lot of demand in the Production Loan especially that of livestock, both in commercial and communal areas. Our clients are beginning to beef up their production on the farms positively. Crop production demand in the communal area is rapidly increasing.
Demand has not been on land purchase. It is on livestock, crop production and infrastructural development. A lot of applications are coming from buying tractors, hammer mills and other farming equipment. Farmers are moving from subsistence to modern farming, especially in the north east of the country.
This is a welcome paradigm shift that can play a crucial role in taking development to the people in the quest of provision of services and promotion of industrilisation.
PF: Are there any sectors that require a larger financial injection that are beyond the bank’s capability?
LI: Aquaculture sector, which had the demand for loans in excess of N$300 million in 2009 as compared to a little more than N$30 million budgetary allocations. Aquaculture is a new sector. A lot is being undertaken because of its potential. Research at the Kamchonga Fisheries Institution in Kavango and other research centres established by the Ministry of Fisheries shows that if developed, aquaculture is very viable though it requires a lot of money. There is a huge risk attached to the sector yet if developed well can change lives.
Loans on game farming activities are also meeting an increase in demand. The last but well manageable are corporate loans such as the Mariental Dairy where the bank invested a lot of money. We are beginning to see a lot of applications in financing piggery and poultry and we are positioning ourselves to fund such viable, affordable and sustainable projects.
PF: What is the profit position of the bank taking into account that in the financial year ending 2006 you recorded a net loss of N$104m?
LI: Since 2005, the Bank deployed financial prudence in asset management to drive the bottom line and improve business value. There was a significant reduction in costs to income ratio from 230% in 2004 to 41% in 2009 which translated in major savings that drastically improved the financial position of the bank to start borrowing from the money market at affordable interest rates for on-lending activities. As a result, loan approvals and disbursement steadily increased by 330% from N$36 million in 2005 to N$155 million in 2009, increasing the surplus/profit by 50% thus contributing to growth of the loan book by 32% from N$1.064 billion to N$1.409 billion during the same period.
PF: A recent survey by Old Mutual listed Agribank among underperforming parastatals in Namibia. How do you respond to that?
LI: We totally disagree with the results of the survey. It does not reflect the actual situation. We were never consulted in that Old Mutual survey and as Agribank we clearly stated that based on the audited financial reports, Agribank recorded a significant year-on-year growth of the total loan book by 7% from N$1.17 billion in 2007 to N$1.26 billion in 2008 and by 9% from N$1.26 billion to N$1.4 billion in 2009. Similarly, the return on assets (ROA) grew steadily and consistently from -9% in 2006 to 2% in 2007, 4% in 2008 and 5% in 2009 indicating how efficient assets of the bank were deployed to generate earnings. We have made the position of the bank very clear to Old Mutual in as far as that survey was concerned.
PF: Can you safely confirm that all is well at Agribank?
LI: We have restored the financial stability and credibility of the bank and hope to continue to manage it to meet the interest of the shareholders and that of the public at large. As a dynamic process, the bank has to improve on its loan circle to shorten the waiting period and also strenghten the recovery process. The funds loaned out must be recovered.
PF: You have stated the need to improve the waiting period. There has been uproar previously that the period for loan processing is unnecessarily long. What really has been the cause for this?
LI: Yes, the loan processing period I agree, is too long, but this can be attributed to the role players involved in the process. For instance, a loan for AALS (Affirmative Action Loan Scheme) requires a waiver from the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement, the valuation of the farm to determine the agricultural fair value, approval of a subsidy by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry and transfer of the deed of sale by the deeds office and lodging of the transfer with our lawyers and the registration of the security. This is beyond our control but we are busy addressing the issues to the benefit of the clients.
At times, clients do not submit in time all the required documentation to complete applications. We only take the date when all the required documents are on the file, not the first day you bring an application. If you apply in January but bring everything in April, we will only consider that application as having been submitted in April. The best is for applicants to bring all the documents when applying for a loan facility, in this case the process will be short.
PF: How prepared are you to cope with the rising demand for land from previously disadvantaged Namibians?
LI: Indeed there has been a rising demand for land by previously disadvantaged Namibians amid scarcity of the land on the market or land offered to the Government for the land reform programme. To exacerbate the situation, those who have land are offering it at higher prices beyond the means of previously disadvantaged Namibians.
As you may recall, regional workshops were held on the new land reform bill that integrates various bills into one and the bill is addressing some of the loopholes so that land can be made available to government. As far as Agribank is concerned, high prices of land offered is being controlled through agricultural fair value formula, which means the land offered should be able to generate enough income to pay back the obligation and sustain the livelihood of the owner. Agribank, as an institution is prepared to make a contribution towards equal access to land within its mandate.
PF: Would you say there is productivity and sustainable utilization on the land that you grant loans to?
LI: Having land without the means to produce is not encouraged. I have been on record calling on farmers with sufficient land to approach Agribank for production loans as a means to grow wealth. The increase in the demand for production, livestock and crop production loans is indicative of farmers willing to put the land to produce for the nation.
The horticulture sector, for example, is clear testimony of productivity and sustainable utilisation of land because in 2009 local production increased by 32%.
The high demand for livestock (55%) and production loans (230%) is indicative of farmers increasing the productivity per hectare of land owned. Therefore land not fully stocked or utilised is wasted.
PF: What is your view of 2010 and the agricultural sector?
LI: Well, the agricultural sector came out of the global economic crisis bruised but not hurt and with good prospects for rainfall forecast this year, we expect the demand for loans by farmers to increase so as to contribute to job creation and food self-sufficiency.
The bank will continue to compliment the government’s effort in improving increased crop production by availing funds to farmers, that is, the Green Scheme Project, etc. The bank will encourage farmers to take farming as a serious business venture.
PF: How far are you with the program of farmers using renewable energy?
LI: Agribank is quite aware of the problems caused by climate change and the greenhouse effects on agriculture production. In this regard, alternative energy products such as solar are offered to farmers for agricultural purposes. The demand for solar usage by the farmers is increasing, especially given the rising costs per kilowatt of electricity. A total of N$1.3 million has been disbursed to clients in commercial areas for the purpose of acquiring solar energy equipment.
PF: Despite the bank’s investment in agriculture, how soon will Namibia be self-sufficient in terms of food security?
LI: The nation is beginning to see some fruit in some sectors of the industry like horticulture where local production increased by 32% in 2009. Most of the farmers in this sector obtained loans from Agribank to engage in horticulture production. I believe with concerted efforts and financial resources invested in the industry, it is not so distant a future to realize food self-sufficiency.
Government has heavily invested in the Green Scheme Project. Agribank is complementing government effort on these projects by providing loans to the service provider at competitive interest rate and small-scale farmers at competitive interest rares in order to promote food production.
In Katima Mulilo, Eenhana and Rundu, among others, silos are being erected where farm produce can be sold and stored. Cold Storage facilities are being erected also in Rundu, Ongwediva and Windhoek to store perishable produce.
The mission is to attain food self-reliance. Farmers are encouraged and given necessary means to increase production. We see a lot of movement in this sector. Recently, we were in Rundu with President Pohamba for the Mahangu Annual Festival to award the best farmers of the year with silos for storage of mahangu millet. The year 2010 has recorded a bumper harvest.
PF: What are the country’s major challenges in crop production, aquaculture and livestock management?
LI: Outbreak of diseases is a major challenge for crops and livestock as previously noted with the fruit fly in the Omusati region and FMD diseases in Caprivi and Kavango regions and more recently the Rift Valley Fever (RVF) in the south. During the period of the diseases you can’t sell anything and it affects our clients.
Skills shortage is affecting all the major areas particularly in aquaculture and agri business. Moreover as the country is transforming from subsistence farming to modern farming, this is another challenge which requires a lot of funding.
PF: Where should the priority be given to ensure food security in the country?
LI: The priority should be given to raising affordable funding to on-lend to farmers at affordable interest rates for increased and sustained productivity. The issue of collateral for small-scale farmers in communal areas should be addressed so that the majority of the small-scale farmers access credit to increase production.However, there is an effort to resolve this challenge as stakeholders are consulting to introduce an Agro-financing scheme to assist farmers’ access to credit.
PF: You never got to explain why at some stage you virtually dismissed the entire workforce and allowed them to reapply for their jobs, during the restructuring exercise, something contested by labour unions?
LI: The bank did not dismiss any staff. However positions on the old structure were made redundant to pave way for the new structure. Positions, gradings and job descriptions significantly changed. Staff members were either given options to apply and be reassessed for positions on the new structure, or to opt for voluntary retrenchment or negotiated settlement. Out of 140 staff members, 89 opted for voluntary retrenchment, 49 chose to be reassessed for reemployment in the new structure and two opted for negotiated settlement. The bank respected individuals’ options. The new structure has made a provision for 122 staff members.
The bank was technically insolvent, the cost to income ratio was as high as 68%, and there was virtually no liquidity as the bank was unable to honour various obligations. Credibility for the bank to borrow diminished to a point of no return and the bank depended on overdrafts to pay salaries and other administrative expenses. The recovery rate was as low as N$4 million per month and there was a strained relationship between the shareholders (government) and the bank. Faced with these problems, the bank had no alternative but embarked upon the restructuring process which has yielded the results that you see today.
PF: Would you advise someone else in a similar position to do the same? Did it bring you the intended results?
LI: Since business is ever changing, It is important for institutions to take stock and realign the business to always meet shareholder’s expectations such as the NDP3, Vision 2030 and contributing to the national economy at large. If these are not in place an institution must transform.
Restructuring was necessary to save the bank from collapse and outcome of that manifestation is the good financial performance of the bank we are enjoying today.
Restructuring should be done as a process of reform and transformation of an institution necessary to devise a new strategy, improve performance, increase production and bring the desired results to shareholders. We had that in mind when we did it.
PF: After your restructuring, is it not about time that we have reform of Agribank in terms of the new strategies, to ensure service delivery?
LI: Agribank embarked upon the turnaround strategy to reduce costs, improve the bank’s liquidity and funding, improve stakeholder’s relations, restructured the balance sheet, increased efforts to monitor and collect arrear loans, and improved labour relations and productivity. This strategy is not cast in stones and is reviewed every year to ensure it is in line with changing business environment. As such we continue to see a recovery rate that increased two folds from N$4 in 2004 to N$15 million on average per month and a significant year-on-year growth of the loan book. Liquidity of the bank significantly improved.
PF: Of course you report to the Ministry of Finance. But how do you keep the lines open between operations which are mainly linked with the Ministry of Agriculture and what really happens on paper?
LI: Being a financial institution, Agribank reports to Ministry of Finance but on the operation side. Agribank reports to Ministry of Agriculture Wildlife and Forestry.
Sixty-ftwo percent of our loan book is made up of Ministry of Agriculture Schemes, such as the Affirmative Action Loan Scheme, the North-South Incentive scheme, Tractor scheme, the National Agriculture Credit Program all belong to the Ministry of Agriculture. We share the information to the to the Ministry of Finance for them to assess how the funds allocated to us have been utilised appropriately. Ministry of Finance deals with the accountability part of the bank’s operations.
PF: Given that you mainly service farmers, all scattered across the country, how accessible is Agribank to people in the regions?
LI: Agribank has six operational branches that market and sell the products; monitor the clients operations, and implement to recovery strategy. Agribank branches are in Windhoek, Otjiwarongo, Oshakati, Katima, Mariental and Rundu.
PF: Are these branches enough?
LI: For now they are sufficient but should demand arise in certain regions, Agribank will be ready to set up satellite offices.
PF: So what challenges do you encounter that limit your operations?
LI: Raising enough capital to finance the growing demand for credit by the industry which is estimated to be N$1, 5 billion a year. The issue of collateral for the majority of small scale farmers in communal and rural areas; exorbitant prices for land offered for the Land Reform programe and marketing, especially for the products and produce are a cause for concern not only to the bank but to the producers.
PF: Would you say that your internal challenges are similar to all the other banks in Namibia?
LI: No. Agribank has a social development mandate while the other commercial banks focus on financing mostly viable businesses. We are more concerned with the collateral issues of small scale farmers. There is no law that enforces farmers to take collateral on their land.
PF: Any external challenges?
LI: Besides unpredictable climate changes, huge subsidies provided by advanced economies to their farmers will disadvantage local farmers, when it comes to open trade. Well subsidised farmers can afford to reduce their products and this puts pressure on the locals if our local products cannot be competitive. We have instances of very cheap chicken coming from established countries and being sold here. This is choking our local poultry.
PF: When you learnt that ABSA was coming this way. What was your first impression?
LI: While the Namibian economy is operated on the bases of market economy, any investors can invest in Namibia. However it is important that the government regulate the flow of investment so that local industries are also protected. I personally agree with the decision of the central bank. There are two development banks and four commercial banks and that is sufficient for our market.
It is equally true, the more banks they are, the more the competition, which is beneficial to clients who use these banks. The concern was that ABSA was going to buy substantial shares in Bank Windhoek, the only local bank here. It is prudent for a local bank not to consider local businesses before offering shares to external investors.
PF: How else are you turning around Agribank into a strong financial institution that can raise capital at a sustainable cost?
LI: Since 2005, the bank deployed financial prudence in asset management to drive the bottom line and improve business value. Agribank adopted a business strategy that is reviewed every year to mantain consistency with the changing business environment. We have replaced the old business operation information system with SAP to improve on effective and efficiency service delivery to our clients and shareholders.
In addition, we have ensured that the bank’s credit assessment is in place. We must approve quality loans, we must strenghten the recovery process, we are ensuring thorough inspection and monitoring of loan perfomance. The bottom line is that the money loaned must be rocovered and that recovery, we will continue to improve the liquidity of the bank. The Board of Directors of Agribank instruction to management is very clear in this regard.
PF: So, where to from here, for Ambassador Iipumbu?
LI: I will definitely continue to serve my country in various capacities if called upon to do so.
PF: Finally, describe your management in three words?
LI: Teamwork, dynamic and innovative.PF
AMBASSADOR IIPUMBU PROFILE
LEONARD Nangolo Iipumbu was born 54 years ago at Elim-Uukwambi in Omusati Region on August 6, 1956.
He was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Agricultural Bank of Namibia (Agribank) in 2005 coming from a distinguished diplomatic career.
Iipumbu has managerial experience of more than twenty years, mostly in Public Administration and Diplomatic Missions abroad, providing leadership, managing assets finance, making timely decision, recommendations and advice to the highest offices to take action on issues of national interest.
His first diplomatic posting was to the Republic of Congo in 1991 as a Special Envoy to oversee the repatriation of 700 Namibian students at the Swapo Technical Secondary School in Loudima and close up the SWAPO representation office in Brazzaville. Ambassador Iipumbu was the last Swapo Representative in Congo Brazzaville till 1989.
In 1992, Ambassador Iipumbu was appointed as the first Namibian ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to France where he played a pivotal role in strengthening and maintaining the Franco-Nam bilateral relations in his seven and half years of diplomatic service in Paris. He also served as the Namibian Permanent Delegate to UNESCO and Nonresident Ambassador to Italy, Portugal and Spain.
In 1999, he was posted as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Namibia to the United States of America (USA) for six years, where he also served as Non-resident Ambassador to Brazil, Canada and Mexico.
In his eminent career, Ambassador Iipumbu served on several delegations to international conferences. He participated in various regional and international conferences such as the UN-GA, OAU, AWEPAA, Non-Aligned Movement, SADC, PTA, ACP, WB IMF and the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiation between SACU member states and the United States.
Among his accomplishments, representing Namibia in two major countries of global importance (USA and France) where he ensured that Namibians national interest was promoted, advanced and defended.
Married to Hilma whom he met in exile in Zambia, 30 years ago while serving as the ruling Swapo Party Deputy Chief Representative and PLAN (Peoples Liberation Army of Namibia) Military Attaché in Lusaka Zambia (1981-84), Iipumbu is a father of three boys and one girl. From early 1984 to 1987, Ambassador Iipumbu was posted as SWAPO Chief Representative to the Republic of Botswana.
He has proven his mettle as a political activist, freedom fighter, a diplomat and a principled executive to reckon with in post-independent Namibia.
His educational background includes;
Master’s Degree in International Services (MIS) with major in International Developments at the School of International Service, American University, Washington, D.C. USA; Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration (BBA) with majors in Economics and Financial Management at the International School of Business (Institute Superieus de Gestion – ISG), Paris, France; Certificate in French as a Second Language, at the French Cultural Center, Brazzaville, Congo (1988); Professional Certificate in Accountancy and Business Studies, at the University of Botswana (1987); Certificate in International Relations and Diplomacy, at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, New York, in conjunction with the Institute of International Applied Studies, Geneva (1984); Certificate in Public Administration and Personnel Management, at the Helsinki State Training Center, Finland (1983); Ambassador Iipumbu received his first military training by the Chinese in the Guerrilla warfare in 1976 at what was known as Kongwa Training centre in Tanzania, thereafter he continued with professional training in Leadership and Personnel Management and Military Training on conventional war at the Tanzania National Leadership and Military Academy, (1977). Thereafter Ambassador Iipumbu served in the Peoples Liberation Army of Namibia as PLAN Cadre from 1978 to 1980 based at what was known as the Eastern Front operating from the West Province of Zambia.
Ambassador Iipumbu restructed Agribank upon his arrival at the bank and has no regret over his actions which he says it was a transformation process necessary for the bank to optimally utilize the human, financial, operational and supporting resources effectively and efficiently in pursuit of the bank’s mandate and ensure profitability and sustainability, meeting the shareholders interest in the long run. PF