Financial Inclusion and the Small-Scale Fisheries Sector in Namibia: A Contemporary Legal Perspective

By: Tapiwa Warikandwa, Elize Shakalela & Eugene Libebe

“The small-scale fisheries (SSF) sector in Namibia has largely been financially excluded and mostly characterised by a limited access to financial services, and scarcity of financial resources for investment fishing projects. This is attributed to the fact that most of fisherman constituting Namibia’s SSF sector are from marginalised coastal communities owing to a limited or restricted access to marine resources and amongst the most marginalised communities such as the Topnaar community. Their low social status is a result of poverty as well as exploitation by middlemen and merchants. Middlemen have control over credit and fish marketing, which drains away the surplus generated and often make them indebted. A combination of variability in catch, technology upgrades, over capitalisation, rising costs, aggressive fishing, overcrowding, amongst other issues, have made economics of fishing and fishing related occupations uncertain. The overall output remains almost the same but the investment and operational costs have gone up considerably. This has resulted in fishermen getting increasingly dependent on loans to finance their expenditures and also using loans as coping mechanism. There is a widely held belief that Namibia has no marine artisanal fishery. Fisheries legislation provides for commercial fishing, dominated by a large-scale industrial fleet, and recreational fishing (from which the sale of catches is prohibited). At the fringes of both these fisheries, however, there are a small number of individuals who operate in a way that would be described as artisanal elsewhere in the world. This chapter argues for the use of financial inclusion mechanisms as a means to empower the SSF sector in Namibia…”

Photo: Nessim Stevenson

Related SDGs:

  • Climate action
  • Life below water
  • Peace, justice and strong institutions