AfDB lends USD 8 million to Help Open Doors to Education and Jobs in Namibia

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The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved on 7 December a corporate loan of South African rand (ZAR) 65 million equivalent to USD 8 million to Trustco Group Holdings Ltd to support the Trustco Finance student lending program thus improving access to education, employability and job-earning potential of high school graduates in the country.

According to a 2005 World Bank report on Namibia, 60 percent of primary school teachers and 30 percent of secondary school teachers are unqualified. Among the qualified, a large proportion lacks essential competencies such as mastery of their teaching subjects. This leads to exceptionally low completion rates in tertiary education. Continuous teacher training, particularly through distance learning, could therefore compensate for these inadequacies although financing for courses is too big a hurdle for many. Thus, lack of access to finance is in effect denying many Namibians access to education, especially at tertiary level.

Trustco Finance is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Trustco Group Holdings, a publicly-listed Namibian company. Trustco Finance has a focus on microfinance and microinsurance in the  education sector. Access to education is enhanced through the provision of both education for students and the finance to support lifelong learning.

Selected students will be enrolled with the Institute for Open Learning, Namibia’s largest private distance learning education institution, while Trustco Finance, through the provision of microloans, will ensure that all the Institute’s students can pursue their education without the burden of financial constraint.

Tim Turner, AfDB’s Director of Private Sector and Microfinance department said: “In Namibia, the unemployment rate among the youth is currently 40 percent. The Bank’s support to the Trustco project will greatly improve access to additional teachers training courses and adoption of new skills. It will thus enhance the employment prospects of school learners by increasing the proportion of those who complete their education”.

Technical contact: Sofiane Sekioua

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