Financial literacy initiative aimed at men on the street
Consumers from all walks of life made their way to Soweto market in Katutura, Windhoek, to attend the launch of the Financial Literacy Initiative on World Consumer Rights Day on 15 March.
The financial literacy initiative is a programme of the Ministry of Finance, aimed at increasing financial education for individuals and small medium enterprise owners at a national platform.
This initiative came about as a result of surveys which indicated low levels of financial knowledge among consumers, in particular, the FinScope 2007 survey. The survey showed that only around half of the Namibian population has access to the formal financial sector.
Speaking at the launch of the Financial Literacy Initiative, the governor of the Bank of Namibia, Ipumbu Shiimi, said that the relatively high banking fees have hit low-income earners hard and discouraged formal banking as a safe haven for saving and other financial transactions.
He said “Unbanked persons are especially exposed to the vulnerabilities and risks associated with the cash economy and high service fees of alternative financial services.”
Shiimi added that in order to address some of these challenges, the Bank of Namibia is working closely with the commercial banks for the establishment of the basic bank account for low-income earners and small medium enterprises.
Shiimi also said that among its features, the basic bank account will attract low transactional fees and provide for a bundle of free transactional services per month. “When finalised, this product innovation is expected to improve access to banking for the unbanked as well as cost-effective services for low-income clients.”