The Bank of Namibia (BoN) says it expects the Angolan central bank to pay back in excess of N$2 billion by the end of 2017, following the cancellation of a currency conversion agreement between the neighbouring countries at the end of 2015. BoN Governor Iipumbu Shiimi said on Wednesday that almost US$300 million was still owed by the Angolan apex bank after last week’s payment of at least US$55 million.
The cost of servicing Namibia’s foreign debt has jumped from N$875 million to N$916 million over the past 10 days as the weakening of the local currency pegged to the rand continues to be felt following the downgrade of South Africa to junk status by international ratings agencies. The country’s exchange rate has weakened from N$/US$13,09 during the budget speech in February to N$/US$ 13,70.
As controversy continues to stalk the recent decision by the Bank of Namibia Governor, Iipumbu Shiimi (IS), regarding his handling of the SME Bank saga, the Windhoek Observer’s Sonja Smith (SS) caught up with the head of the central bank to discuss his views on the matter, including his relationship with President Hage Geingob and the impact of developments in South Africa on the domestic economy.