By Elmar Burger, Regional Convenor at TMA-SA NAMIBIA
The TMA-SA’s Namibian Region was launched last month in Windhoek by the TMA-SA Chairman Alastair Macduff and CEO Bruce Berry.
The initiative for the launch was coordinated by me, Elmar Burger, an existing TMA-SA member who re-located to Windhoek six months ago.
The Namibian government’s Business Rescue Task Force (BRTF) contacted the TMA-SA to learn about the business rescue experience in South Africa and ensure that Namibia does not repeat the same legislative drafting mistakes when it promulgates its own Business Rescue Act. This partnership with the BRTF thus provided an opportunity for the TMA-SA to expand its influence in Namibia.
While the Namibian economy can be viewed as a microcosm of South Africa’s, it does have its own unique issues. Its current downturn began in 2016, following a sharp decline in the property market, which had boomed prior to that owing to increased Government infrastructure spend.
The next blow to an already fragile market was the extensive, debilitating drought which started in 2017 and lasted for three years until 2019. This was devastating, as a large portion of Namibian economy is Agri-based.
The “flash in the pan” upturn of late 2019 and early 2020 was completely negated by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. This poor economic situation has resulted in an unusually large number of companies going into distress.
Against this backdrop, the government established the BRTF to investigate and provide a framework for the regulation and introduction of a formal business rescue framework to align Namibia with international standards in terms of turnaround and corporate renewal. This task force was made up of a diverse set of professionals from all industries including banking, government, and industry leaders.
The BRFT has already identified that distressed funding is one of the critical aspects that is lacking in the corporate renewal process in South Africa. As a result, emphasis will be placed on establishing different types of financing instruments to support any legislative changes.
The need for a holistic approach to turnaround and business recovery is critical. The introduction of a formal Business Rescue Act as a single piece of legislation will not be the cure-all for the country’s economic distress, but with guidance and advice, especially from the likes of TMA-SA, positive strides can be made to ensure that Namibia is elevated to international standards when it comes to corporate renewal.
New Regional Committee Members
Following the successful launch of the TMA-SA’s Namibian region, a Regional Committee was appointed:
Elmar Burger – Regional Convenor
Elmar has been involved in business rescue in South Africa since 2014 and is a Certified Turnaround Practitioner. He is currently doing workout and distressed client management at Bank Windhoek.
Abel is a partner at Deloitte Namibia and has more than a decade of experience in the auditing profession, specialising in the audits of diamond mining companies, the telecommunications, media & technology (TMT).
Fanie heads up Mid – Corporate banking at FNB Namibia and has been with the FirstRand Group for almost 20 years. With legal and MBA backgrounds, he is a dealmaker by nature which transformed into turnaround solutions creator as the Namibian economy deteriorated the past 6 years.
Louis is a Chartered Accountant, having been with the FirstRand Group in SA and Namibia for 20 years, the last 7 years as COO of FirstRand Namibia before retiring in 2021.
Martin’s career in finance began with a position as a researcher in banking statistics at the Bank of Namibia. After being promoted to financial analyst, he joined FNB Namibia as a corporate banking manager. In 2006, he joined the Development Bank of Namibia’s lending department where he worked his way up through the ranks and is currently CEO.
We look forward to working with our new colleagues in Namibia and sharing our turnaround and business rescue experience.