Namibia: Central Bank Celebrates Women At the Helm of Commercial Banks

The Bank of Namibia this week hosted an event in honour of women appointed holding leadership positions at the country’s biggest commercial banks, as they are furthering the national aspiration of transforming the management and ownership of financial institutions.

Currently, four out of the top five commercial banks now have female Managing Directors, namely: Baronice Hans, the Managing Director for Bank Windhoek, Ester Kali, the Chief Executive Officer for Letshego Namibia, Martha Murorua, the Managing Director for Nedbank Namibia, and the recent appointment of Mercia Geises as new Chief Executive Officer Designate of Standard Bank Namibia.

At the occasion, the Governor of the Bank, Johannes !Gawaxab stated that over the past thirty years, there has been a significant improvement in the localisation of management at banking institutions.

“We have seen Namibian women being appointed on merit to management and executive positions within the banking sector, which is a welcomed undertaking,” !Gawaxab said.

Transformation of the Namibian financial sector as advocated for by the Namibia Financial Sector Strategy 2011-2021 and the voluntary Financial Sector Charter, calls for the localisation of the sector. In this context, localisation refers to ensuring increased local ownership, skills development and decision-making capacity of institutions.

This includes representation or participation of Namibian citizens in the control and management structures of the institutions, i.e. board of directors, executive management and other decision-making structures.

The transformation of management of banks is not a legal or regulatory requirement under the mandate of the Bank of Namibia. The banks, as signatory to the Financial Sector Charter, voluntarily implement the Charter as well as heed to the reforms advocated for in the national sector transformation Strategy i.e. the Namibia Financial Sector Strategy.

Speaking at the event, Murorua said that when she reflects back on her career, she was proud of her journey, adding that the current transition occasioned by the Covid 19 pandemic, calls for a solution oriented and relentless leadership so the country overcomes the current challenges to growth and development aspirations.

Similarly, Hans emphasised self-discipline which helped her rise the corporate ladder, stating that “no one should be limited by race or gender and anything is possible with dedication, discipline and sacrifice.”