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Don’t let the stats frighten you, they are showing improvement by the day

Don’t let the stats frighten you, they are showing improvement by the day

Anybody still doubting that a major economic revival is underway only needs to work through ten pages of daily bank liquidity statistics as published by the Bank of Namibia.

For the purpose of making a meaningful comparison, I have lifted the stats for January and for August to date. A game of statistical gymnastics followed which only people who are fond of juggling stats will understand.

Nevertheless, it transpired that for 19 working days in January 2017, average daily liquidity was a measly N$132 million per day. For seven trading days, local liquidity was negative sometimes by as much as N$300 million.

Compare this August to January and one finds that for the past 19 working days, the four major banks’ combined liquidity position has increased to an average of N$2,965,000,000 per day. That is N$2.7 billion and it is a far cry from the January figure.

In fact, it is more than 2,200% higher. All statisticians will immediately realise this is an impractical way to express percentages, so it is better expressed as a factor increase. Bank liquidity has improved by a factor of 22.4 over a period of roughly seven months. The turning point was the middle of May when there is a noticeable jump and after which we never had another day of negative liquidity.

Massaging the stats in a different way, one could also say that, were the economy to remain at January output levels, it would have taken six years to get back only to the 2016 level. The fact that this has been accomplished in just over six months, is perhaps the single most important indicator how momentum has grown since the beginning of the year.

What is also quite obvious from my rough comparison is that N$1.2 billion of outstanding construction invoices can not in one’s wildest dreams, restore the type of liquidity I have shown above. It means something else must also contribute to the regained economic momentum.

Another point that corroborates my revival thesis is offered by the statistics on M2 Money Supply. These are not measured daily but a monthly comparison between February and August shows a tremendous improvement. Whereas earlier in the year, monthly growth, year on year was only around 4.5%, it has now exceeded 7.8%. This, however must be interpreted with circumspect. The lower figure is a comparison to the first part of 2016 when the gravy train was still running full speed. This is a so-called high-base effect. The second figure is a comparison to the latter part of 2016, after the sheites have already hit the fan, a so-called low-base effect in turn. But the growth through this year, regardless of base effects, is still reassuring given that it is on its way to double.

Granted, I have not analysed the M2 stats in the same way I did the banking liquidity figures, but the trend is still unmistakable. If M2 continues to grow at this rate, by the end of the year, liquidity should have improved substantially again.

What is clear from the stats, is that we were in very serious trouble in January this year. What is also clear is that we are no longer in trouble. Were it not for the extraordinary shock to the financial system in 2016, current conditions would have seem closer to normal.

When an economy’s liquidity goes negative, many things happen. First, bank have to borrow from shareholders or from parent companies or from the central bank or list a bond. This scares banking people out of their wits. It also shakes the entire financial structure and confidence is lost.

This was most vividly illustrated by the banks’ save-now narrative which became very obvious during the second 2016 semester. It shows that banks were in danger of non-compliance with adequacy ratios.

But once the system has been scared like this, confidence is also shaken and every banker asks him or herself when the revival will start and can it be trusted.

Well, it has started and going by the figures, it is a private sector revival and not so much driven by government borrowings although I have noted that there is enhanced participation in both the money and the capital market. To substantiate, I have not lately heard of the need for any so-called “private placements” to fund the governments operational requirements.

The next stage in the consolidation will be when banks start lending again. The moment this happens, Private Sector Credit Extension will rebound, and about six months later, the whole economy should be operating well on a much wider front.

Of course I can not prove this, nobody can, but a realistic PSCE target of say 10% will help a lot to restore confidence. After that we can set a 12% target and then we are not far from the historical average of just over 13%.

People ask me how long will it take before the indicated improvement in banking liquidity filters through to the rest of the economy. The answer is easy: the sooner banks start lending, the faster the revival. The longer they delay, the longer it will take to get above an annualised growth rate of 3% which is about the minimum we should target.



About The Author

Daniel Steinmann

Brief CV of Daniel Steinmann. Born 24 February 1961, Johannesburg. Educated at the University of Pretoria: BA, BA(hons), BD. Postgraduate degrees are in Philosophy and Divinity. Editor of the Namibia Economist since 1991. Daniel Steinmann has steered the Economist as editor for the past 29 years. The Economist started as a monthly free-sheet, then moved to a weekly paper edition (1996 to 2016), and on 01 December 2016 to a daily digital newspaper at It is the first Namibian newspaper to go fully digital. Daniel Steinmann is an authority on macro-economics having established a sound record of budget analysis, strategic planning and assessing the impact of policy formulation. For eight years, he hosted a weekly talk-show on NBC Radio, explaining complex economic concepts to a lay audience in a relaxed, conversational manner. He was a founding member of the Editors' Forum of Namibia. Over the years, he has mentored hundreds of journalism students as interns and as young professional jourlists. He regularly helps economics students, both graduate and post-graduate, to prepare for examinations and moderator reviews. He is the Namibian respondent for the World Economic Survey conducted every quarter for the Ifo Center for Business Cycle Analysis and Surveys at the University of Munich in Germany. He is frequently consulted by NGOs and international analysts on local economic trends and developments. Send comments to

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia


20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.