!Gawaxab eases conflict of interest fears

22 April 2020 | Banking

OGONE TLHAGE

WINDHOEK



As he takes on a new role as the governor of the Bank of Namibia, EOS Capital founder Johannes !Gawaxab says there should be no fear of a conflict of interest between these two roles.

“I am in the process of finalising who will take over (at EOS Capital) and looking at how I can mitigate conflict of interest. I will make sure there is no conflict of interest by the time I start at the Bank of Namibia,” he added.

President Hage Geingob yesterday announced the appointment of !Gawaxab as head of the central bank following the deployment of former governor Iipumbu Shiimi as the new minister of finance. !Gawaxab was asked about his role as chairman of EOS Capital, a private equity firm of which he is the founding member.

“The Bank of Namibia Act is quite clear; I cannot have other interests,” he said.



Economic climate

!Gawaxab was also asked about his expectations leading the central bank as the world economy battles with the coronavirus pandemic.





“The main challenge is that we have an economy that is operating below capacity … unemployment is a challenge, debt is a challenge.

On the other hand, we have a low-inflation environment, low oil prices… so it's not all doom and gloom,” he said.

!Gawaxab said the question would now have to be about reviving the economy after the pandemic.

“We need to start thinking about the economy post-Covid; we need ideas to protect and advance Namibians … how do we create jobs?” the new central banker said.



Track record

!Gawaxab joins the Bank of Namibia after a long spell in the financial services sector. He was the CEO of Old Mutual Asset Management Namibia, a role he took up in 1998. He was subsequently appointed group CEO for Old Mutual Namibia. He later headed the insurer's emerging markets subsidiary and exercised authority over its businesses in 13 countries.

He also serves as the chairperson of the High-Level Panel on the Namibian Economy.

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