Namibia: Debt Has Become a Lifeline for Many Namibians

28 January 2022

A reality that emerged from a recent Old Mutual survey is that debt has become a lifeline for many Namibians. It is therefore not surprising that the ripple effect of the current financial environment has not only created an environment of constant stress, but has also led to a cycle of debt for many individuals.

These results emerged during the last quarter of 2021 when Old Mutual conducted its Savings and Investment Monitor Survey. The primary objective of the survey was to better understand the saving behaviour and financial attitudes of working Namibians, with specific reference to the ongoing impact of Covid-19.

Over half of the surveyed participants indicated that buying on credit had become a part of life as they just could not make ends meet. While a third of those surveyed had dipped into their savings and another third had fallen behind on their household bills. The three things that many had cut back on were groceries, entertainment, and clothing.

Based upon the survey results, it emerged that a significant number of Namibians faced many financial adversities in 2021. This forced them to take a hard look at their financial position and the plans they had in place to handle the challenges placed before them due to Covid-19. Out of the sample, 58% feared the possibility of losing their jobs or income while 68% were concerned about their job security. Therefore, it is understandable why 33% of the participants had taken on an additional job or business or done freelance work on the side in addition to their permanent or regular job to supplement their income.

Equally, the results showed that a quarter of those surveyed lived with their parents while 80% said that they had children who are dependent on them. Similarly, a quarter of the participants highlighted that since the emergence of the pandemic, they had started financially supporting more people.

Something that stood out from the survey was that even though almost 76% of the respondents agree that the Covid-19 pandemic had made them more aware of the need for protection cover such as medical aid, life insurance and funeral cover, the demand for such protection was however subdued. This could be attributed to the current financial predicament that many Namibians find themselves in. It was however encouraging to see that close to half of the respondents believed that the Namibian economy would improve soon.

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