Latest indications from the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) dating back from the 2017 financial year are that the number of Namibians who are banking has gone up exponentially.
The banking population has gone up to 67.9% in 2017, from 45% in 2011 while a majority (64.7%) are finding Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) as the most comfortable banking channel followed by bank branches (58.1%).
These findings are sprouting from a Financial Inclusion Survey (NFIS) conducted in collaboration with the Bank of Namibia last year and being a first of its kind, it ran from the 2nd of October to the 13th of November.
According to the NSA, “The main barrier to banking was that there is no money to save (59.6%), while the least reported barrier was the inconvenience of banking hours (0.1%).”
In the six months before the beginning of 2017, around 19.4% of the eligible population reportedly borrowed money to buy food, mainly.
The NSA reports that the main barrier to accessing credit in the country was the fear of debt.
“12.8% of adults in Namibia had or used credit/loan products from banks in the six months preceding the 2017 NFIS. They could also be using other non-bank credit/loan products and/or borrowed from friends and family, but the defining characteristics are that they borrow from a bank,” says the NSA.
Only a few people constituting 6.7% of adults are depending on informal mechanisms such as informal money lenders while they do not have any formal financial credit/loan products and could be borrowing from friends and family, NSA observes.
On a comparative basis in the SADC region, Namibia has been ranked fourth in terms of financial inclusion.
Basically, the Financial Inclusion Survey is a national representative survey of how individuals source their income and how they manage their financial lives including their engagement with the financial services sector as a whole, said NSA.