Black economic empowerment implementation in the Namibian financial sector: An empirical evaluation

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University of Namibia
Economic empowerment in Namibia has a valid historical grounding. The country’s history before and after independence, as the consequences of the apartheid regime, has been marked by inequality and profound economic exclusion of the majority black people from participation in mainstream economic activities. To deal with the legacy of apartheid, direct intervention in the distribution of economic assets and opportunities was deemed desirable. The Namibian government introduced various policies aimed at redressing inequalities of the past subjected on the black majority by the former regime. One of these policies is Black Economic Empowerment (BEE). It was envisaged that for the economy to succeed, the majority of the citizens must play a meaningful role, beyond being workers, but must participate also as business owners, executives and senior managers, entrepreneurs and also as decision-makers in the economy. The financial sector in Namibia is crucial to the growth of the economy and the overall achievement of developmental goals of the country. The sector, in response to the call by government to transform, developed and adopted a voluntary charter to spearhead, guide and drive the implementation of BEE in the sector. This study evaluates the implementation outcomes of BEE in the financial sector of Namibia. A gap and disconnect was identified in the literature between the intentions and prescripts of the voluntary adopted Namibia Financial Sector Charter, and the financial sector’s response to and implementation outcomes of the BEE initiative. Furthermore, a gap was identified between the government’s objectives and intended outcomes of the BEE initiative on one hand and the financial sector’s response, progress made and outcomes in implementing BEE policy on the other. The study adopts an outcome evaluation design that utilises sampling, data collection and data analysis methods that are aligned to both the research objectives and theoretical foundations of the research paradigm. The research employs a mixed research methodology with predominantly qualitative approach to assemble and analyse the data in examining the implementation outcomes of BEE in 13 large-scale financial institutions. Primary data was collected from individuals officially designated to represent these institutions through a 42 item questionnaire and through semi-structured interviews of a highly selective sample of 11 prominent, knowledgeable individuals representing industry regulators, trade unions, industry bodies, academics as well as selected economic, social and political commentators. The interviews were based on an interview guide consisting of predominantly open ended questions. The data in this study was analysed by using a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods. The processing of qualitative data analysis, involved transcribing collected data into rich text format, then cut and pasted onto Microsoft Word (2010). The data was coded and labelled using the appropriate coding and labelling technique. Quantitative data was analysed using SPSS (version 20) and Microsoft Excel (2010) software packages. A number of informative findings emerged, but chief among them is that in its current form, the voluntary financial charter adopted to drive the implementation of BEE in the sector, performed below expectations and is not as successful and effective as anticipated. Lack of a legislative and policy framework to guide and enforce implementation is one of the numerous highlighted contributing factors. The study provides a range of suggestions for research to fill a number of identified gaps in the existing body of knowledge on BEE. Finally, the study presents a number of recommendations to the regulators, financial institutions, executives and to the government that may be useful in making BEE implementation effective. It is the conclusion of the study that, despite the highlighted flaws and defects, BEE initiative is necessary and Namibia should not deviate from the principle of a more equitable society and economy.
A dissertation submitted in fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Business Administration
Balck economic empowerment, Equitable economy