The race to reduce the segment of the population that has no access to financial services hit high speed this week with the launch of the fourth Namibia Financial Inclusion Survey by the Bank of Namibia, Finmark Trust of South Africa and the Namibia Statistics Agency.
Previous surveys were conducted in 2004, 2007 and 2011.
The survey will cost N$5,8 million, Statistician General, Alex Shimuafeni told the Windhoek Observer.
Director of Communications at the Bank of Namibia, Emma Haiyambo, told the Windhoek Observer that the financial industry is hoping to reduce the percentage of the unbanked segment of the population to 26 percent by 2021 from the current 65 percent.
The FinScope Consumer Survey Namibia conducted in 2011 showed a significant increase in adults that are formally served.
The survey said 65 percent of adult Namibians are formally served with financial products. This increase was driven by a high uptake in transactional and savings products between 2007 and 2011.
It is expected that that the introduction of products like mobile banking will bring more Namibians into the banking sector.
According to FNB Namibia, the challenging macro-environment has had an impact on the performance of financial institutions, necessitating a need for these institutions to seek growth outside their current customer base.
FNB says Namibia’s unemployment rate of 34 percent, indicates that there is very limited growth in the market.
“Consequently, specific entity growth would need to come from converting clients from other players in the market,” FNB said.
The financial industry through its Namibian Financial Sector Strategy has admitted that the level of financial exclusion in Namibia is very high. The industry admits that SMEs have also experienced difficulties in obtaining financing from formal financial institutions as evidenced by the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) survey of 2009.
The Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA), the Bank of Namibia (BoN) and FinMark Trust of South Africa said the survey announced this week is meant to collect information on financial needs, access to financial service preferences and financial behaviours of the people of Namibia.
The survey will be conducted to show how accessible financial services and products are to all members of the society, including the vulnerable members such as women, youth and low income groups at an affordable cost.
The survey will be conducted only on selected households in a random sample that will be aided by the use of Geographic Information System (GIS).
It will be conducted through face-to-face interviews that will be administered by NSA staff. The survey started on 2 October and ends on 13 November.