This sector contributed up to 58 percent of the GDP in 1998. The sector comprises business services and financial services, government services, community and personal services, and other services.
The financial sector includes the central bank, the Bank of Namibia, whose role is to issue notes and coins, act as banker for the commercial banks and the government, hold the country's reserves of gold and foreign exchange, regulate the financial sector, and act as lender of last resort to the banks when they run short of cash. Bank Windhoek, Commercial Bank of Namibia, First National Bank of Namibia, City Savings and Investment Bank, Namibia Post Savings Bank, and Standard Bank of Namibia are commercial banks, taking deposits from the public and lending to individuals and businesses. The Agricultural Bank of Namibia specializes in lending to the farm sector. Electronic and automatic banking are very advanced, and Namibia has benefitted from South African expertise in these areas in the period prior to independence.
Wholesaling and retailing and personal services depend on the general growth of the economy and have grown steadily in recent years. One feature is the prevalence and efficiency of large-scale supermarkets and department stores, all of which are managed by South African companies. Such stores only exist in the very largest of the cities, however.
Tourism has grown strongly during the 1990s, generating receipts of US$210 million in 1997 (12 percent of exports of goods and services) from 410,000 visitors, mainly from South Africa and Germany. Tourist attractions include wildlife parks and nature reserves (comprising in all 102,000 square kilometers or 12 percent of the land area in 1994), such as the famous Etosha Park, and spectacular desert scenery.