4 January 2016

Namibia: Kwanza Conversion Resume Delayed

The resuming of the Angolan kwanza conversion into Namibia dollar and Namibia dollar into kwanza has been delayed.

On 2 December 2015, the exchange agreement has been suspended in Namibia.

However, the central banks of Namibia and Angola have agreed to implement an alternative mechanism that will allow for the exchange of the two currencies at certain commercial banks in Angola.

The Bank of Namibia had announced during the suspension that the new mechanism on implementing the Currency Conversion Agreement will commence on 21 December 2015.

The new mechanism means the Bank of Namibia will now issue Namibia dollars directly to Banco Nacional de Angola.

"Banco Nacional de Angola will then facilitate currency exchange at commercial banks and bureaux de change at Santa Clara, Angola.

This means that Namibians who wish to convert their Namibia dollars into Angolan kwanza, or Angolans who wish to convert their kwanzas into Namibia dollars will be able to do so at commercial banks in Angola," BoN's governor Ipumbu Shiimi said at the time.

However, when The Namibian visited the Angolan border town of Santa Clara on 24 December 2015, there were no kwanza conversion activities taking place at the central banks of that town.

"They will only resume with the kwanza conversion on 5 January 2015," said Manuel Pedro, an informal money changer at Santa Clara.

According to Pedro, business has been going well for him and his fellow informal money changers at the town since the suspension at the beginning of last month.

A teller at the bureau de change at the Angolan side of the border has also confirmed the delay.

"We are not changing kwanzas since the suspension," he said.

This is despite the Bank of Namibia revealing its confidence in the planned resume date.

On 16 December 2015, BoN's deputy director of communications and financial sector development Emma Haiyambo told The Namibian that both the Bank of Namibia and the Banco Nacional de Angola are confident that the new currency conversion agreement will resume as planned on 21 December 2015.

"There is a commitment from both central banks that the alternative mechanism which is provided for in the main agreement will commence on 21 December as planned," Haiyambo said at the time.

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