Staff Writer

The Governor of the Bank of Namibia (BoN), Johannes !Gawaxab says although the central bank has continuously ensured a favorable macroeconomic environment for the country’s economic growth over the past 30 years, structural interventions are required to increase Namibia’s growth potential.

“This Bank is ready to work with the Government, not in a subservient role, but rather in a complementary fashion to set the framework for accelerated economic development. The Namibian economy needs structural interventions to achieve a sustained increase in our growth potential,”! Gawaxab said during commemorations of BoN’s 30th anniversary.

“We need to dedicate our time to dissecting the constrains to growth in our economy, devise and implement the necessary strategies to overcome them. Over the coming decades, the Bank needs to direct efforts towards supporting key players in the economy, as well as Government, to contribute effectively to economic development, growth, accelerated investment and employment creation.”

!Gawaxab said the country needs faster, sustained economic growth to positively contribute towards critical socio-economic challenges of poverty and high unemployment.

“We need to vigorously pursue economic diversification, improve productivity, and enhance resource allocation to productive sectors. As fiscal advisor to Government, the Bank is committed to play its part in this exercise. Namibia desperately needs faster, sustained economic growth to make a dent in the critical socio-economic challenges of poverty and high unemployment, particularly among the youth and less

Skilled individuals. This area will be the preoccupation of the Bank in the coming years,” he said.

!Gawaxab said the central bank will continue to drive financial sector inclusivity among Namibians.

“Our concerted efforts to ensure that more Namibians have access to reliable and affordable financial services and products, are bearing fruits. While this achievement is commendable, more still needs to be done to ensure that such services are available to the bulk of our rural population,” he said.

The BoN Governor said the central bank will have to ensure that it maintains regulatory oversight on changes emerging in the financial sector brought about by technology.

“As a central bank, we should undoubtedly prepare to embrace the imminent digital revolution and tackle technological change. Digital transformation offers both opportunities and threats, as it brings about fundamental changes in the working modes and business models in the financial sector. We will need to ensure that we have sound oversight over the digital architecture. We will work to acquire the requisite skills to spearhead financial regulations in a digital world.,” he said.

“As a regulator, it is incumbent upon us to make judgement calls on fintech risks, digital currencies, making the cloud safe, supervising Artificial Intelligence (AI) and defending the financial system against impending cyber security attacks. We also will need to be mindful of the manner in which we regulate new payment operators as we discharge our regulatory mandate in a gradually ‘cashless’ society. Embracing these challenges will require transforming and undergoing seismic changes – changes to our institutional, operational, and structural set up. It will require us shifting from our comfort zone and embracing the unknown.”