!Gawaxab applauds rising female bankers
By Hilary Mare
GOVERNOR of the Bank of Namibia, Johannes !Gawaxab has praised transformation in the financial sector where out of five commercial banks in Namibia, four are now being led by females as managing directors.
These are Baronice Hans, managing director of Bank Windhoek, Ester Kali, the chief executive officer of Letshego Namibia, Martha Murorua, managing director of Nedbank Namibia, and Mercia Geises, the new chief executive officer designate of Standard Bank.
At an event to recognise accomplishments of the transformation agenda in the financial sector under the theme ‘Celebrating female leadership in banking’ this week, !Gawaxab further stated: “Over the past thirty years, we have observed a significant improvement in respect of localisation of management at banking institutions. We have seen Namibian women being appointed on merit to management and executive positions within the banking sector, which is a welcomed undertaking,” he said.
Transformation of the Namibian financial sector as advocated for by the Namibia Financial Sector Strategy 2011-2021 and the voluntary Financial Sector Charter, calls for the localisation of the sector. In this context, localisation refers to ensuring increased local ownership, skills development and decision-making capacity of institutions. This includes representation or participation of Namibian citizens in the control and management structures of the institutions, i.e. board of directors, executive management and other decision-making structures.
The transformation of management of banks is not a legal or regulatory requirement under the mandate of the Bank of Namibia. The banks, as signatory to the Financial Sector Charter, voluntarily implement the charter as well as heed to the reforms advocated for in the national sector transformation strategy i.e. the Namibia Financial Sector Strategy.
Speaking at the occasion, the female leaders were grateful for the recognition bestowed by the central bank in recognition of their exemplary journeys.
Murorua said that when she reflects back on her career, she was proud of her journey saying, “Although you cannot change the place of your birth or the circumstances of your upbringing, you can create a better future for yourself when given opportunity.” She added that the current transition occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic, calls for a solution oriented and relentless leadership so the country overcomes the current challenges to growth and development aspirations.
Similarly, Hans emphasised self-discipline which helped her rise the corporate ladder, stating that no one should be limited by race or gender and anything is possible with dedication, discipline and sacrifice.
Kali also shared the same thoughts saying, “With tenacity, clear focus and a driving personal purpose to make a difference for more people, anything is possible.” This was in addition to her call for embracing digitalisation to ensure efficiencies in the current way of work.
While acknowledging the role of her mentors in her career, Geises advised her fellow women to be resilient, and deploy abilities and ideas to change the situation at hand.