Popular Economist Writes Book

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By Mbatjiua Ngavirue WINDHOEK Martin Mwinga’s book “Understanding Personal Finance & Investments in Namibia” was launched on Thursday evening at a function at the National Library. Mwinga, the Chief Economist at First National Bank Namibia, originally wrote parts of the book as a series of articles published in New Era during the course of 2003 and 2004. The response to the articles was so positive he decided to use them as a basis for a fully-fledged guide for the layman to the sometimes, daunting subject of personal finance. In the introduction, he says the book was intended to partly fill gaps in the education system where there were no structured courses on personal financial matters. It also aims to increase financial literacy and empower people to take independent financial decisions. The compact book covers a wide range of topics including areas such as debt and debt management, investing in different financial instruments, retirement planning, understanding insurance and estate planning. Officially launching the book, Prime Minister Nahas Angula noted that the book stressed the importance of financial education. Angula said he believed financial education was the key to empowering individuals and consumers with the necessary skills to make informed financial decisions, allowing them to be more in control of their financial circumstances. He congratulated Mwinga for his foresight, courage and hard work in producing what he described as an excellent book. Speaking at the launch, Mwinga said his book was more relevant than ever since Namibians were entering difficult times in the economy and management of their finances. For every two new insurance policies written in Namibia one was cancelled, meaning 50% of all new policies were cancelled mainly as a result of the financial pressure people were under. “What is likely to happen is that you jeopardise the sustainability of the entire insurance industry,” he said. Only 10% of Namibians would be financially independent at retirement, while the other 90% would be completely dependent on the meagre social pension provided by the Government. Namibia was one of the most highly indebted countries in Africa, with 60% of total credit extended going to individuals. The result, Mwinga said, was that many Namibians would find themselves in financial difficulties, prompting him to write the book.