Agribank gets ‘fit’ new boss

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Agribank gets 'fit' new boss
Agribank gets 'fit' new boss

Africa-PressNamibia. The Agricultural Bank (Agribank) of Namibia has appointed celebrated capital markets expert Raphael Karuaihe as its incoming chief executive officer from January 2022.

He will be replacing Sackaria Nghikembua, who is said to have taken up new opportunities in the insurance sector. The board’s vice chairperson, Dagmar Honsbein, announced the appointment in a press statement last week.

Karuaihe is currently the head of commodities at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in South Africa. He has been there since 2012, where he oversees agricultural and non-agricultural commodities in the capital markets division.

His appointment was celebrated across the board, with many saying it is a fitting appointment – one that would hopefully see a bank that has reportedly been captured by politicians to now benefit once-excluded citizens.

Those who celebrated his appointment, include Namibia Statistics Agency board chairperson Salomo Hei, who on social media said Karuaihe’s appointment was inspirational.

“What an inspired appointment, and we will all benefit from his wealth of experience. The few times we get them right, we really do,” he said on Twitter.

Agribank has been criticised over the years for not pushing products that talk to the needs of ordinary, upcoming farmers, but has since improved, and is now setting up new offices and rolling out communal and youth facilities, as well as funding women’s projects.

Before that, Karuaihe spent many years in the financial services industry where he advised institutional clients on retirement planning, investments, and risk management.

He holds a doctorate in agricultural economics from Washington State University in the United States. “The board and staff look forward to welcoming Dr Karuaihe to our team that is destined to take Agribank to greater heights,” Honsbein said.

According to financial statements from 2019, Agribank has a loan book worth over N$2,7 billion, and a total asset value of slightly over N$3 billion. Financial statements for 2020 have been signed off, and the bank is yet to release them.

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