The Future of Cryptocurrency in Namibia

The Central Business District of Windhoek, Namibia's capital city.

Namibia is a large country in southern Africa that neighbours South Africa, Botswana, and Angola. Since its secession from South Africa in 1991, it has been one of Africa’s most stable democracies and economies. Battered by civil war and strife during much of the 20th century, the largely desert country came out as a beacon of hope on the African continent. With the advent of the global Covid-19 pandemic, most economies have taken a downturn. What will the future be for Namibia’s economy and how will cryptocurrency fit into this?

Namibia’s economy

Namibia has a relatively diversified economy, with agriculture, tourism, and fishing making up major components thereof. Its fiat currency, the Namibian dollar, is linked to the South African Rand on a one-to-one basis. The economy is thus largely co-dependent on South Africa’s.

The banking system is largely traditional. Global centres of capital play a large role in the country’s economic integration and investment. However, cryptocurrency has been illegal in the country since its inception. But as more of her neighbours adopt favourable stances on digital assets, Namibia could follow suit.

Cryptocurrency in Namibia

In 2017, the Bank of Namibia published a detailed report on cryptocurrency in the country, reported Coindesk. According to the bank, Namibia’s statutes on finance are not favourable to digital assets. The decades old Exchange Control Act of 1966 does not allow for digital currency to operate in the country. This has resulted in a long-time anti-crypto stance from official bodies.

It is arguable though, that in light of the recent strides in cryptocurrency advancement in southern Africa and throughout the continent, Namibia would want to progress as well. A welcoming environment for cryptocurrency could lead to a stable economy and more capital flow into the country. This has been noted by various developing countries who have taken a favourable approach to digital asset management in the view that it could only prove positive for otherwise stagnant economies.

Namibia’s neighbours, South Africa and Botswana, have both emerged as pioneers in blockchain and cryptocurrency on the continent, and indeed the whole developing world.

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Raïs Tarek 87 Articles
Journalist and lawyer, with a passion for global politics, economics and current affairs.