Namibia will allow foreign banks to open branches

After shunning international competition and not allowing foreign banks to set up shop, Namibia will allow foreign banking institutions to operate in the country.

Namibia’s central bank said Friday that the country will allow foreign banks to open branches and also make it easier for the government to increase local ownership of domestic banks.

In a statement released Friday from the capital, Windhoek, Bank of Namibia said a new amendment would allow “credible foreign banking institutions” to open branches to promote competition in a banking

industry dominated by a handful of lenders.

The statement said: “Over the past few years, limited competition characterized the banking industry in

Namibia. The law is now amended to address the concern. Previously, the law only allowed for fully

incorporated subsidies and representative offices.’’

The amendment is expected to make it easier for the government to draft regulations on the ownership of banks to increase local control of lenders.

The central bank said it will also now be able to levy administrative fines on lenders.

Its about time that Namibia allowed this kind of much needed foreign investment, the economic payoffs were just too much to be held  back by the anti-globalization forces in past governments.

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