Gawaxab sets sight on “fixing” the central bank
The governor of the Bank of Namibia, Johannes Gawaxab said his vision is to fix the bank, modernise the financial system and help secure the economic recovery of the country.
Reflecting on his first 100 days in office, Gawaxab said his goal is to ensure that the central bank is a well-run institution, internationally trusted, respected by its stakeholders and inspire a sense of pride in both the public and the employees of the bank.
“Monetary and financial stability are necessary conditions, and we need to excel at it, but I must admit that these are not sufficient conditions for long-term prosperity. In our case, we need to contribute to creating an enabling macroeconomic and financial stability environment to help to grow the economy, create jobs and improve the livelihoods of the majority of our people,” he said.
The Governor said the opportunity to serve at the pinnacle of national finance during the touch economic climate brought forth by the Covid-19 pandemic is gratifying, stimulating and in some respect represents a serendipitous culmination of his entire professional life.
He admits that even before this health crisis, the country’s economy was contracting, unemployment was high and the fiscal space severely constrained if not exhausted, creating an almost perfect storm to face.
“It has been humbling to me, as I experience first-hand the resilience of the Namibian people who must face this situation daily while the pandemic dominates without a clear ending and who selflessly strive to save lives and the livelihoods of their compatriots,” Gawaxab said.
Gawaxab said while he is not a typical central-banker, he has been following economics from the perspective of financial markets for more than 27 years and brings applied economics to the table.
“Economic models are useful and have their place, but economic models built on historical events must be contextualised with practical experience when faced with once-in-a century catastrophes like Covid-19,” Gawaxab said.
Prior to joining the Central Bank, Gawaxab, who is well-known in the financial market, made the decision to take early retirement and start a Private Equity business from scratch. He resigned from serving on various boards, including those of the Social Security Commission and Rössing Uranium Limited.
“I made personal sacrifices, resigning from all the Boards that I served on, in Namibia and within the continent and also have taken the necessary steps to exit potential conflict of interests,” he said.
Gawaxab completed Economics 1, 2 & 3 at undergraduate level and later as part of the AMP at Harvard Business School. He assumed duty as Governor on 2 June, following his appointment by President Hage Geingob on 21 April 2020.
Caption: Governor of the Bank of Namibia, Johannes Gawaxab.