Namibia has a well-established banking system, which is controlled by legislation and by state agencies working through the Bank of Namibia. The Banking Institutions Act passed into law in 1998 provides the legal framework for banking operations in Namibia and is designed to ensure international acceptability. To deepen the range of financial services in Namibia, an Offshore Banking Act as well as legislations governing the conduct of other offshore financial services has been put in place. As a member of the Rand Common Monetary Area (CMA), however, Namibia continues to be subjected to CMA foreign exchange regulations as are South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland.
Commercial banks in Namibia operate through a nationwide network of branches and offer a comprehensive range of banking services, including current account and overdraft facilities, term deposits, discounting of bills, foreign exchange and a variety of loan products. General banking facilities such as hire purchase and leasing packages are also available and most of the commercial banks are capable of providing specialised merchant banking facilities. Branches of banks can be found in most towns in Namibia with agencies in the smaller centres. International services are available through interbank arrangements while electronic banking and teller services are available in all major centres.
The banks are connected to major international communication networks, ensuring fast and efficient transfers of funds to and from other centres in the world.
The Agribank of Namibia assists the domestic agriculture sector in the country, while the Development Bank of Namibia assists small and medium size business enterprises.
The Namibian Stock Exchange
The Namibian Stock Exchange (NSE) commenced operations in October 1992 and is the second biggest in SADC in terms of total market capitalisation.
Computerised screen trading was adopted from its inception, and the Namibian Stock Exchange was the first exchange in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to take up the Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s offer to make use of its electronic trading system (JET system) in November 1998. The link-up should be seen in the context of plans by the stock exchanges of the SADC region to establish closer links and achieve greater integration by linking the region’s autonomous stock exchanges.
Repatriation of Capital
The local sale or redemption proceeds on non-resident owned assets in Namibia may be regarded as freely remittable or be used freely by non-residents for investment purposes within the CMA.
EPZ enterprises operate outside the normal foreign exchange regime in Namibia. To address their foreign exchange and operational requirements, two types of banking accounts have been tailor-made to the needs of enterprises operating in the Namibia EPZ.
EPZ Customer Foreign Currency Account
To facilitate the foreign currency disbursements of EPZ enterprises. This account is kept in foreign currency in a local bank.
EPZ Non-resident Account
This is a Namibia dollar account funded with foreign currency and used for the normal operational requirements / expenditure of EPZ enterprises. Balances on this account are freely convertible.
Other Benefits of Liberalisation
Freedom of movement for capital transactions of non-residents.
Free repatriation of income/dividends earned on such investments.
Institutional investors, i.e., pension funds, insurance companies and unit trusts may engage in asset swap transactions.
Corporations may invest directly abroad.
Virtually all quantitative limits on current account transactions in line with Article VIII of the IMF have been abolished.