Bank of Namibia enhances payment landscape with instant payments

The Map and Flag of Namibia.
Image courtesy of hyotographics/

The Bank of Namibia has announced the planned launch of the Instant Payment Project to revolutionise payment services across the country. 

Targeting an official launch in 2025, the project aims to expand financial inclusion by offering essential and affordable financial services to all. The project particularly focuses on rural and informal sectors, which encounter logistical and financial hurdles in accessing traditional banking services.

Focusing on inclusivity, the platform will be accessible on any device, including non-smartphones. This inclusive design will provide access to a range of demographics, from vendors and taxi drivers to pensioners and small business owners, who may face barriers to accessing sophisticated banking services or handling traditional banking fees.

During the launch, the Governor of the Bank of Namibia, Johannes Gawaxab, stated: “Despite the remarkable achievements recorded to date in the execution of the Financial Sector Strategy, as evidenced by high levels of broad financial inclusion estimated at around 78.1% of the population, segments of our population remain underserved and unserved.”

This initiative comes after the Bank of Namibia sought solutions to promote the adoption of affordable, fast and efficient payment services in 2023. 

Aligned with the Bank’s 2022-2024 Strategic Plan, this exploration prioritised the enhancement of financial services in rural areas and the informal sector. The overarching goal is to reduce cash dependency and enhance transactional efficiency.

Instant payments have become an area of focus in the payments ecosystem, with giants such as Mastercard continuously working to improve its offering. Earlier this year the company extended its agreement with The Clearing House to ‘evolve and embrace the digital economy through real-time payments’.

In a joint effort to bring the vision to life, Gawaxab announced that the Minister of Finance and Public Enterprises has greenlit the establishment of an independent Special Purpose Vehicle. This entity will be responsible for spearheading the implementation of the Instant Payment Project in collaboration with Namclear.

Gawaxab added: “’The decision to partner with Namclear is a strategic imperative. Being the only clearing house, which is also designated as a systemically important financial market infrastructure, it is essential that we refrain from introducing fragmented clearing operations in the payment ecosystem. The Bank of Namibia greatly appreciates Namclear’s willingness to partner with the established Special Purpose Vehicle.’’