Bank of Namibia governor Johannes !Gawaxab has urged citizens to explore the constant innovation in the payment eco-system of electronic money.
He stated that the country has 2.5 million active wallets with 64 million transactions with over N$34 billion in 2022.
“So the e-wallet has grown exponentially,” !Gawaxab revealed, saying the figure stood at N$31.6 billion the previous year.
He made these revelations during the launch of the modified N$20 banknote which will feature the governor’s signatureat Opuuo on Monday, under the theme ‘Know Your Currency’ .
!Gawaxab, who will be leading the central bank for the next four years until he is 70 will have his signature feature on the N$200 banknote as well. The signature of the former bank governor Iipumbu Shiimi, now minister of finance, will be moderately phased out. The launch of the N$200 banknote was scheduled to take place at Outapi yesterday.
The governor’s signature is printed in raised ink on the front side of the banknote while the rest of the security features on the 2022 modified banknotes will remain intact, and will thus run concurrently and co-circulate with the existing N$20 banknote series.
Officiating at the launch and dispensation of the modified N$20 into circulation, !Gawaxab reiterated the bank’s commitment towards the inclusion of all citizens in the country’s economy by accelerating frequent opportunities.
”Launching this banknote today signals our commitment to promoting the inclusion of all Namibians in our economy by increasing their participation and expanding opportunities. In line with our mandate, financial inclusion is high among the bank’s shared roles and priorities in advancing the responsiveness of the financial sector and contributing to the inclusive growth of the economy”, the governor said.
!Gawaxab noted that Namibia remains a predominantly a cash based economy, particularly in semi-urban and rural setups. He said the central bank circulated 4.8 billion currencies which equated to 2.5% of Namibia’s total gross domestic product (GDP). Equally, the governor added that over the past few years, the bank has observed a steady growth in the demand for currency.
“In the immediate post-Covid environment, the bank noted a 2.4% increase in the currency circulation in 2022 compared to 2021,” he said, adding that those statistics are a clear indication that Namibians continue to use cash as a primary form of payment in circling the transaction conducting their business activities and meeting social obligations.
!Gawaxab stressed the importance of banking, which he said is essential to the economy as it provides access to usage of quality financial services which in turn enables families and small owners to generate income, manage cash flows and invest in opportunities that will walk their ways out of poverty.
He noted that Namibia is making steady progress toward promoting financial inclusion.
“According to the Namibia inclusion survey of 2017, the proportion of the financially excluded population was 22% in 2017, this increased from 31% in 2011 and as much as 51% in 2007, a figure that is more than half over the 20 years but still with the room to improve,” he noted.
!Gawaxab is the 5th central bank governor whose signature features on the Namibia dollar since its first issuance in September 1993.
Namibia currently has six denominations in circulation: N$10, N$20, N$30, N$50, N$100 and N$200 notes.