Currency conversion agreement to increase trade

Windhoek – The implementation of the Currency Conversion Agreement between Namibia and Angola that takes effect this month, will result in increased trade and deepen the economic ties between the two nations, according to the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI).

Its Chief Executive Officer Tarah Shaanika told The Southern Times this week that the long overdue agreement, which will become effective on June 18, is a welcome initiative that will see significant changes in trade especially between the town of Oshikango in Namibia and Santa Clara in Angola.

“The main aim is to facilitate trade between Namibia and Angola to allow each country to use each other’s currencies. The development came up when we had difficulties with the American dollars as it was becoming very low in Angola and that the trading in Oshikango was declining.

“The proposal came from the private sector through the NCCI as we have been in talks with the Bank of Namibia for the past five to seven years. We are happy that the move paid off and we are also happy that will assist in helping to increase the trade volumes between the two countries,” he said.

The agreement will enable any Namibian traveling to the town of Santa Clara to legally exchange the Namibia Dollar into Angolan Kwanza at any commercial bank or bureau de exchange.

It will also allow any Angolan citizen to exchange the Angola Kwanza at any commercial Bank or Bureau de exchange at Oshikango for the Namibia Dollar at the applicable daily exchange rate.

The Bank of Namibia and Banco National de Angola agreed that the Currency Conversion Agreement will finally come into effect this month, after initially agreeing to introduce it in March 2015.

“The March 2015 had to be postponed to allow more time to finalise preparatory work pertaining to the implementation of the agreement. This Agreement will facilitate reciprocal conversion of the national currencies of the Republic of Namibia and the Republic of Angola at the border towns of Oshikango and Santa Clara,” said Bank of Namibia’s Director of Strategic Communications and Financial Sector Development Ndangi Katoma.

The bank said the two central banks will continue engaging to ensure the success of the agreement.

The possibility of extending the agreement to other towns along the border will be explored and the findings will be addressed accordingly, Katoma said.

Meanwhile Bank Windhoek said as from June 19, they will offer currency exchanges services of the Angolan Kwanza currency notes at Oshikango branch.

Claire Hobbs, chief treasurer at Bank Windhoek said in recent years, the restrictions of trading with the US Dollar at Oshikango put enormous financial strain on businesses, with many having to close operations in the process.

“With the new agreement, Bank Windhoek is confident that business will improve and boost the local economy. The Kwanza currency will only be available at our Oshikango Branch, because of the high influx of Angolan citizens crossing the Oshikango border and the high volume of financial transactions between the two countries taking place in the area,” she said.

June 2015
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