Grey Listing: A Looming Crisis for Nam

Karischa Schmidt

In recent weeks, Namibia has been thrust into the unforgiving spotlight of international scrutiny as we find ourselves on the greylist of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). 

This designation is not only a bureaucratic inconvenience, but a ticking time bomb.

It has the potential to drastically affect the lives of Namibian families, the working class, and our aspiring youth.
The immediate impact of grey listing will be felt acutely in the day-to-day lives of ordinary Namibians.

Families countrywide find themselves grappling with the harsh reality of restricted access to the global financial system – making it increasingly difficult to send and receive money abroad, conduct business transactions, or access essential financial services.

For those who rely on remittances from relatives overseas, or entrepreneurs striving to build their businesses beyond Namibia’s borders, these limitations are nothing short of a financial straitjacket, squeezing budgets and stifling aspirations.


But the ripple effects do not stop there.

The working class, already thinly stretched, faces the burden of increased compliance costs imposed by financial institutions scrambling to meet stringent regulations.

This translates into higher fees, reduced access to credit, and limited investment opportunities, placing an even heavier strain on already tight budgets.

From grocery bills to utility payments, every cent counts. Any added financial pressure threatens to push some families to the brink of financial ruin.

And what about our young graduates, full of hope and ambition for the future? Greylisting casts a long shadow over their aspirations, making it increasingly challenging to secure employment opportunities both locally and internationally.

It conjures up the spectre of economic instability; the dream of a brighter future feels increasingly out of reach, leaving many people disillusioned and disheartened.

But there is a glimmer of hope – a call to action for employers and the state to fulfil their duty to the Namibian people.
Employers must prioritise the well-being of their employees, providing necessary support and resources to navigate the evolving financial landscape.

This means implementing robust internal controls, transparency measures and due diligence procedures to mitigate the risks posed by greylisting.

Similarly, the state must step up to the plate and enact legislative and regulatory reforms to strengthen our financial regulatory framework and meet international standards.

This entails allocating resources towards supporting affected individuals and communities, ensuring that essential services and social programmes remain intact, despite fiscal constraints.


Let’s not forget the power of the individual.

As Namibians, we have a collective responsibility to hold our leaders accountable, and to demand transparency and accountability.

We must raise awareness, engage in dialogue and advocate change to ensure that the needs of the people are prioritised above all else.
Unity and solidarity are our greatest assets. Together, we can overcome the challenges.

Let’s stand together and build a future that honours the dignity and resilience of every Namibian family, worker and young person.

  • * Karischa Schmidt is a concerned Namibian and an insurance compliance officer.

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