30 May 2015 17:00pm
WINDHOEK, 30 MAY (NAMPA) Bank of Namibia (BoN) and Banco National de Angola have agreed that the Currency Conversion Agreement between the two countries will come into effect on 18 June 2015.
In a statement issued to Nampa on Friday, BoN's Director for Strategic Communications and Financial Sector Development Ndangi Katoma said the agreement will facilitate reciprocal conversion of the two countries' national currencies at the border towns of Oshikango in northern Namibian and Santa Clara in southern Angola.
This means that any Namibian travelling to the town of Santa Clara will be able to legally convert the Namibian Dollar into Angolan Kwanza at any commercial bank or bureau de change at Santa Clara. Likewise, any Angolan citizen will be able to exchange the Angola Kwanza at any commercial bank or bureau de change at Oshikango for the Namibian Dollar at the applicable daily exchange rate, he said.
The agreement between the two central banks was signed in September 2014 and was expected to be effective from March 2015 but the date had to be changed.
Katoma said the postponement allowed more time to finalise preparatory work pertaining to the implementation of the agreement.
The BoN's spokesperson said the agreement is expected to enhance trading activities and thus strengthen the economic relations between the two countries.
Speaking to Nampa on Saturday, Chairperson of the Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) Northern Branch, Tomas Iindji commended the agreement, saying it comes at a time when business relations between Namibia and Angola are strained due to the unavailability of a smooth system to facilitate cross-border trade.
He said Oshikango, the once popular and lucrative business centre in the Ohangwena Region, has suffered an economic slump over the past five years and abandoned buildings are a testimony to this.
Iindji said Angolans are among the biggest consumers in the Namibian market, thus, it is a great step in the revival of trade relations between the two nations.
This confirms the view that we can use our strong and mutually beneficial relations to further deepen regional integration and development and contribute to the regeneration of economies on the African continent, he stressed.
Iindji noted that it is the chambers desire that the cooperation between Namibia and Angola be based on synergetic force pillars that boost the axis of development for each of them, and reinforce the existing political, economic and social relations.
He said the trickle-down effect of fewer United States (US) dollars in Angola has been a massive revenue loss for businesses in the north of Namibia.
The towns that have been particularly affected include Helao Nafidi, Oshakati, Ongwediva, Ondangwa, Eenhana, Ruacana, and Outapi.
He said these towns depend on Angola for a large portion of their customer base and international instability has forced customers to conserve their personal income until prices have stabilised in the international oil market.
Angola, Africas second largest producer of crude oil that pays for 70 per cent of public expenditures, has been forced to take financial steps in order to survive the instability in international market prices of oil.
Iindji explained that the crisis and the slow integration of the Kwanza in Angola has been strengthening the value of the US Dollar, compared to other currencies.