Naufiku Hamunime, became Standard Bank Namiba’s Economist, after starting off her career at the Bank through its graduate programme two years ago.
She is part of the young people who joined the bank through various developmental programmes, such as the Standard Bank Graduate programme, through which the Bank employs young graduates who rotate through the Bank’s various departments learning new skills.
She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics obtained from Rhodes University, a Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Geography also from Rhodes University and a Master of Science Degree in African Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Hamunime’s commendable work within the short period of time she has been in the Bank has put her on the map as one of the young stars to look out for. She is one of the youngest black female economists locally.
However, becoming an Economist was not something she sought out when she began her tertiary education studies, but it happened serendipitously as all the subjects she studied merged together perfectly like pieces of the same puzzle.
“I didn’t always have a clear idea of what I wanted to do professionally or even what I wanted my career path to look like. I’ve always been one to follow my passions and my academic career was no exception. I focused on Namibia, the Namibian economy and how it can be better. I enjoy being an Economist because it allows me to think through the problems/challenges we face in the country and how we can address them,” she said this week.
Hamunime pointed out that studying the different courses she did at university has given her a holistic view she wouldn’t have otherwise had if she had just focused on one course.
“Most people don’t view banks as institutions which have a good purpose but Standard Bank’s vision of driving Namibia’s growth is a great one that aligns with my personal vision and goals,” she said.
She currently also serves as a board member for the Economic Association of Namibia, which she says has been a great experience for her as she gets to meet and interact with other people in her field from different organisations who are all passionate Namibia’s economy and making a positive contribution to it. “It is important that we as young people remember that we have valuable contributions to make, you may not know as much as the next person but your contribution is still valid and still valuable,” she encouraged.
A lot of women face challenges when trying to breakthrough in a male dominated industry, however this has not been a problem for Hamunime who takes it all in a stride.
“What I enjoy is that Standard Bank values in empowering young people by prioritising and fostering a culture of support and trust. Our leaders are trailblazers who did great things when they were younger and they believe that we too can do the same. It is therefore important to be confident and believe in yourself regardless of the obstacles that young women may face in the workplace,” she explained.
She said she also hoped to see more young people stepping-up in the corporate environment because they can make great contributions. She stressed that they can also use the private sector as a force for positive change.
“Something that drives me is knowing that I want to enable other young black women to come after me and know that they can succeed and make valuable contributions too. I want for things to be easier for them because we proved that we are capable, the same way our predecessors did for us. I look up to the women who came before me because I realise that they made it easier for me as well,” she said of her drive to excel as an Economist.
She urged young girls who have dreams of becoming Economists not to listen to naysayers but go for it, stating that what other people say about them is not important but what matters is the confidence they have in their ability and their drive to succeed. Hamunime said she would use the same drive to contribute to the economic development of the country, especially by aiding in creating public policy that would ensure that all Namibians prosper economically.
“I am passionate about Namibia; I am passionate about seeing Namibia reach its full potential. So many sacrifices were made for us, but we cannot rest and think that all the work is done. Our forefathers job was that of fighting for our liberation and ours now is that of creating prosperity for all. We all need to live decent lives that we can all be proud of,” she concluded.
Posted by Donald Matthys