By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK In its effort to empower new Smart Switch Namibia one-card users, Namibia Post Limited has introduced the signing up of merchants in the country. This will help business or service providers who use smart card technology payment for goods. According to the Chief Executive Officer of Namibia Post Limited, Sakaria Nghi-kembua, the introduction of merchants means that smart cardholders will be able to use their cards to purchase goods directly from shops and pay for services at any signed-up service provider. This comes after a successful implementation of the smart card technology in Namibia that was introduced in January 2006. Since the introduction of the smart card in Namibia, this banking service has in a revolutionary way assisted the poorest in accessing technology in the country. This newly launched initiative is an added value service to customers as it accords them an opportunity to have access to banking services even after normal working hours, added Acting General Manager of Marketing and Business Development, Benjamin Jacobs. “Last week, we launched the first merchant in the name of Woermann Brock supermarkets. There are so far 61 merchants across the country. More merchants are on the way,” stated CEO Nghikembua. Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of Net 1, a Smart card shareholder company, Serge Belamant, once indicated that there are four billion people in the world that do not have access to financial services due to poverty, and who are considered ‘unban-kables’ by the traditional banking service providers. Most of these people are constantly looking for recognition, employment, ways to educate their children, but for all intents and purposes, they don’t exist in the eyes of the banking world. However, yesterday saw the signing of an extension of the Development Bank of Namibia’s loan of N$ 15 million to Namibia Post Limited. The funds, Nghikembua added, would be used for investment in Smart Switch Namibia Limited that has since its introduction early this year made affordable electronic financial services a reality for Namibians, especially the rural poor. At the signing of the loan agreement, Chief Executive Officer of DBN David Nuyoma stated that technology had indeed enabled the rural poor to have access to the banking sector and the benefits it provides. “DBN supports this project…it is pro-poor, in line with our undertaking to contribute to the economic growth and social development of Namibia and the welfare of the Namibian people,” he said.
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