Namibia

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South Africa occupied the German colony of South-West Africa during World War I and administered it as a mandate until after World War II, when it annexed the territory. In 1966, the Marxist South-West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) guerrilla group launched a war of independence for the area that became Namibia, but it was not until 1988 that South Africa agreed to end its administration in accordance with a UN peace plan for the entire region. Namibia has been governed by SWAPO since the country won independence in 1990, though the party has dropped much of its Marxist ideology. Prime Minister Hage GEINGOB was elected president in November 2014 in a landslide victory, replacing Hifikepunye POHAMBA who stepped down after serving two terms. SWAPO retained its parliamentary super majority in the November 2014 elections and established a system of gender parity in parliamentary positions.

Geography

Location

Southern Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Angola and South Africa

Geographic coordinates

22.00° S, 17.00° E

Area 34/257

total: 824,292 sq km

land: 823,290 sq km

water: 1,002 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly more than half the size of Alaska

Land boundaries

total: 4,220 km

border countries (4): Angola 1,427 km, Botswana 1,544 km, South Africa 1,005 km, Zambia 244 km

Coastline

1,572 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Climate

desert; hot, dry; rainfall sparse and erratic

Terrain

mostly high plateau; Namib Desert along coast; Kalahari Desert in east

Elevation

mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

highest point: Konigstein 2,606 m

Natural resources

diamonds, copper, uranium, gold, silver, lead, tin, lithium, cadmium, tungsten, zinc, salt, hydropower, fish

note: suspected deposits of oil, coal, and iron ore

Land use

agricultural land: 47.2%

arable land 1%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 46.2%

forest: 8.8%

other: 44% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

80 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources

17.72 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 0.29 cu km/yr (25%/5%/70%)

per capita: 146 cu m/yr (2002)

Natural hazards

prolonged periods of drought

Environment - current issues

limited natural freshwater resources; desertification; wildlife poaching; land degradation has led to few conservation areas

Environment - international agreements

party to: Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

first country in the world to incorporate the protection of the environment into its constitution; some 14% of the land is protected, including virtually the entire Namib Desert coastal strip

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Namibian(s)

adjective: Namibian

Ethnic groups

black 87.5%, white 6%, mixed 6.5%

note: about 50% of the population belong to the Ovambo tribe and 9% to the Kavangos tribe; other ethnic groups include Herero 7%, Damara 7%, Nama 5%, Caprivian 4%, Bushmen 3%, Baster 2%, Tswana 0.5%

Languages

Oshiwambo languages 48.9%, Nama/Damara 11.3%, Afrikaans 10.4% (common language of most of the population and about 60% of the white population), Otjiherero languages 8.6%, Kavango languages 8.5%, Caprivi languages 4.8%, English (official) 3.4%, other African languages 2.3%, other 1.7%

note: Namibia has 13 recognized national languages, including 10 indigenous African languages and 3 Indo-European languages (2011 est.)

Religions

Christian 80% to 90% (at least 50% Lutheran), indigenous beliefs 10% to 20%

Population 143/238

2,212,307

note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 30.95% (male 345,767/female 339,026)

15-24 years: 23.11% (male 258,586/female 252,773)

25-54 years: 36.57% (male 422,026/female 386,948)

55-64 years: 4.88% (male 48,406/female 59,545)

65 years and over: 4.49% (male 42,635/female 56,595) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 67.3%

youth dependency ratio: 61.4%

elderly dependency ratio: 5.9%

potential support ratio: 17% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 23.1 years

male: 23.1 years

female: 23.1 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 151/233

0.59% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 85/224

19.8 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 8/225

13.91 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 86/222

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 46.7% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 4.16% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

WINDHOEK (capital) 368,000 (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.09 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.81 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female

total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

21.5

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2013 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 53/184

265 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 44/224

total: 45.62 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 48.48 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 42.67 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 220/224

total population: 51.62 years

male: 52.05 years

female: 51.18 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 101/224

2.17 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

55.1% (2006/07)

Health expenditures 54/191

7.7% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

0.37 physicians/1,000 population (2007)

Hospital bed density

2.7 beds/1,000 population (2009)

Drinking water source

improved:

urban: 98.2% of population

rural: 84.6% of population

total: 91% of population

unimproved:

urban: 1.8% of population

rural: 15.4% of population

total: 9% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

improved:

urban: 54.5% of population

rural: 16.8% of population

total: 34.4% of population

unimproved:

urban: 45.5% of population

rural: 83.2% of population

total: 65.6% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

15.97% (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

245,400 (2013 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

5,100 (2014 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 133/191

16.8% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight 37/138

13.2% (2013)

Education expenditures 9/173

8.5% of GDP (2010)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 11 years

male: 11 years

female: 11 years (2006)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 19/134

total: 56.2%

male: 49.4%

female: 62.2% (2013 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Namibia

conventional short form: Namibia

local long form: Republic of Namibia

local short form: Namibia

former: German South-West Africa (Deutsch Suedwest Afrika), South-West Africa

etymology: named after the coastal Namib Desert; the name "namib" means "vast place" in the Nama language

Government type

republic

Capital

name: Windhoek

geographic coordinates: 22.34° S, 17.05° E

time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins first Sunday in September; ends first Sunday in April

Administrative divisions

14 regions; Erongo, Hardap, //Karas, Kavango East, Kavango West, Khomas, Kunene, Ohangwena, Omaheke, Omusati, Oshana, Oshikoto, Otjozondjupa, Zambezi; note - the Karas Region was renamed //Karas in September 2013 to include the alveolar lateral click of the Khoekhoegowab language

Independence

21 March 1990 (from South African mandate)

National holiday

Independence Day, 21 March (1990)

Constitution

drafted 9 February 1990, signed 16 March 1990, entered into force 21 March 1990; amended 1998, 2010, 2014 (2015)

Legal system

mixed legal system of uncodified civil law based on Roman-Dutch law and customary law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Namibia

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Hage GEINGOB (since 21 March 2015); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Hage GEINGOB (since 21 March 2015); Prime Minister Saara KUUGONGELWA-AMADHILA (since 21 March 2015)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president from among members of the National Assembly

elections/appointments: president elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 27-28 November 2009 (next to be held on 28 November 2014)

election results: Hage GEINGOB elected president; percent of vote - Hage GEINGOB (SWAPO) 86.7%, McHenry VENAANI (DTA) 5.0%, Hidipo HAMUTENYA (RDP) 3.4%, Asser MBAI (NUDO)1.9%, Henk MUDGE (RP) 1.0%, other 2.0%

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament consists of the National Assembly (104 seats; 96 members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 5-year terms and 8 nonvoting members appointed by the president) and the National Council, which primarily reviews legislation passed and referred by the National Assembly (26 seats (to be expanded to 42 in 2016); members indirectly elected 2 each by the 13 regional councils to serve 5-year terms)

elections: National Council - elections for regional councils to determine members of the National Council held on 27 November 2015 (next to be held in November 2020); National Assembly - last held on 28 November 2014 (next to be held in November 2019)

election results: National Council - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - SWAPO 24, UDF 1, DTA 1; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - SWAPO 80.0%, DTA 4.8%, RDP 3.5%, APP 2.3%, UDF 2.1%, NUDO 2.0%, CPN 1.5%, other 3.8%; seats by party - SWAPO 77, DTA 5, RDP 3, APP 2, UDF 2, NUDO 2, CPN 2, SWANU 1, UPM 1, RP 1

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and at least 3 judges in quorum sessions)

judge selection and term of office: judges appointed by the president of Namibia upon the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission; judges serve until age 65 but can be extended by the president until age 70

subordinate courts: High Court; Labor Court; regional and district magistrates' courts; community courts

Political parties and leaders

All People's Party or APP [Ignatius SHIXWAMENI]

Communist Party of Namibia or CPN (formerly known as Workers' Revolutionary Party or WRP) [Attie BEUKES and Harry BOESAK]

Democratic Turnhalle Alliance of Namibia or DTA [McHenry VENAANI]

National Unity Democratic Organization or NUDO [Asser MBAI]

Rally for Democracy and Progress or RDP [Jeremiah NAMBINGA]

Republican Party or RP [Henk MUDGE]

South West Africa National Union or SWANU [Usutuaije MAAMBERUA]

South West Africa People's Organization or SWAPO [Hage GEINGOB, acting president]

United Democratic Front or UDF [Justus ||GAROEB]

United People's Movement or UPM [Jan J. VAN WYK]

Political pressure groups and leaders

National Society for Human Rights or NAMRIGHTS

The Affirmative Repositioning Movement or AR [Job AMUPANDA, Dimbulukweni NAUYOMA, George KAMBALA]

other: various labor unions

International organization participation

ACP, AfDB, AU, C, CD, CPLP (associate observer), FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NAM, OPCW, SACU, SADC, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNISFA, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Flag description

a wide red stripe edged by narrow white stripes divides the flag diagonally from lower hoist corner to upper fly corner; the upper hoist-side triangle is blue and charged with a yellow, 12-rayed sunburst; the lower fly-side triangle is green; red signifies the heroism of the people and their determination to build a future of equal opportunity for all; white stands for peace, unity, tranquility, and harmony; blue represents the Namibian sky and the Atlantic Ocean, the country's precious water resources and rain; the yellow sun denotes power and existence; green symbolizes vegetation and agricultural resources

National symbol(s)

oryx (antelope); national colors: blue, red, green, white, yellow

National anthem

name: "Namibia, Land of the Brave"

lyrics/music: Axali DOESEB

note: adopted 1991

Economy

Economy - overview

The economy is heavily dependent on the extraction and processing of minerals for export. Mining accounts for 11.5% of GDP, but provides more than 50% of foreign exchange earnings. Rich alluvial diamond deposits make Namibia a primary source for gem-quality diamonds. Marine diamond mining is becoming increasingly important as the terrestrial diamond supply has dwindled. Namibia is the world's fifth-largest producer of uranium. It also produces large quantities of zinc and is a smaller producer of gold and copper. The mining and quarrying sectors employ less than 2% of the population. Namibia normally imports about 50% of its cereal requirements; in drought years food shortages are a major problem in rural areas. A high per capita GDP, relative to the region, hides one of the world's most unequal income distributions. A five-year, Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact ended in September 2014. As an upper middle income country, Namibia is ineligible for a second Compact. The Namibian economy is closely linked to South Africa with the Namibian dollar pegged one-to-one to the South African rand. Namibia receives 30%-40% of its revenues from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). Volatility in the size of Namibia's annual SACU allotment complicates budget planning. Namibia's economy remains vulnerable to world commodity price fluctuations, and drought. The rising cost of mining diamonds, increasingly from the sea, has reduced profit margins. Namibian authorities recognize these issues and have emphasized the need to increase higher value raw materials, manufacturing, and services, especially in the logistics and transportation sectors.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 136/230

$24.84 billion (2015 est.)

$23.71 billion (2014 est.)

$22.69 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$12.86 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 45/225

4.8% (2015 est.)

4.5% (2014 est.)

5.1% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 132/230

$11,300 (2015 est.)

$10,800 (2014 est.)

$10,300 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 101/179

17.5% of GDP (2015 est.)

18% of GDP (2014 est.)

20.9% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 69.2%

government consumption: 27.3%

investment in fixed capital: 29.9%

investment in inventories: -1.2%

exports of goods and services: 39.6%

imports of goods and services: -64.8%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 6.2%

industry: 30%

services: 63.8% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

millet, sorghum, peanuts, grapes; livestock; fish

Industries

meatpacking, fish processing, dairy products, pasta, beverages; mining (diamonds, lead, zinc, tin, silver, tungsten, uranium, copper)

Industrial production growth rate 47/202

4.3% (2015 est.)

Labor force 139/233

1.188 million (2015 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 16.3%

industry: 22.4%

services: 61.3%

note: about half of Namibia's people are unemployed while about two-thirds live in rural areas; roughly two-thirds of rural dwellers rely on subsistence agriculture (2008 est.)

Unemployment rate 183/207

28.1% (2014 est.)

29.6% (2013 est.)

Population below poverty line

28.7% (2010 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.4%

highest 10%: 42% (2010)

Distribution of family income - Gini index 7/144

59.7 (2010)

70.7 (2003)

Budget

revenues: $4.617 billion

expenditures: $5.333 billion (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 55/219

35.9% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 177/220

-5.6% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 144/176

28.2% of GDP (2015 est.)

24% of GDP (2014 est.)

Fiscal year

1 April - 31 March

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 138/226

3.4% (2015 est.)

5.3% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 62/156

6% (31 December 2014)

5.5% (31 December 2013)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 90/184

9.3% (31 December 2015 est.)

8.7% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 118/192

$2.786 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$3.17 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 117/193

$7.496 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$6.574 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 118/191

$5.863 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$6.655 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares 104/121

$1.305 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

$1.152 billion (31 December 2011)

$1.176 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Current account balance 138/197

-$1.557 billion (2015 est.)

-$1.355 billion (2014 est.)

Exports 110/224

$5.042 billion (2015 est.)

$4.626 billion (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

diamonds, copper, gold, zinc, lead, uranium; cattle, white fish and mollusks

Imports 111/223

$7.205 billion (2015 est.)

$7.36 billion (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

foodstuffs; petroleum products and fuel, machinery and equipment, chemicals

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 127/170

$1.135 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$1.209 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Debt - external 125/206

$5.993 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$5.306 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home

$NA

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad

$NA

Exchange rates

Namibian dollars (NAD) per US dollar -

12.58 (2015 est.)

10.85 (2014 est.)

10.85 (2013 est.)

8.2 (2012 est.)

7.26 (2011 est.)

Energy

Electricity - production 141/220

1.796 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 123/219

4.238 billion kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - exports 79/218

89 million kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports 53/219

2.907 billion kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 122/214

1.087 million kW (2013 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 179/214

31.8% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 207/214

0% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 25/214

68.2% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 142/212

0% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Crude oil - production 208/214

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 208/214

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - imports 147/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 209/215

0 bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 145/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 126/212

22,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 146/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 107/213

21,990 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 146/216

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 209/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 210/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 79/214

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 60/212

62.29 billion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 135/212

3.716 million Mt (2012 est.)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines 128/219

total subscriptions: 180,000

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 8 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 143/217

total: 2.7 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 121 (2014 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: good system; core fiber-optic network links most centers with digital connections

domestic: multiple mobile-cellular providers with a combined subscribership of more than 100 telephones per 100 persons

international: country code - 264; fiber-optic cable to South Africa, microwave radio relay link to Botswana, direct links to other neighboring countries; connected to the South African Far East (SAFE) submarine cable through South Africa; satellite earth stations - 4 Intelsat (2010)

Broadcast media

1 private and 1 state-run TV station; satellite and cable TV service available; state-run radio service broadcasts in multiple languages; about a dozen private radio stations; transmissions of multiple international broadcasters available (2007)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 2, FM 39, shortwave 4 (2001)

Television broadcast stations

2 (2007)

Internet country code

.na

Internet hosts 84/232

78,280 (2012)

Internet users 140/217

total: 325,400

percent of population: 14.8% (2014 est.)

Transportation

Airports 52/236

112 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 19

over 3,047 m: 4

2,438 to 3,047 m: 2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 12

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 93

1,524 to 2,437 m: 25

914 to 1,523 m: 52

under 914 m: 16 (2013)

Railways 65/136

total: 2,628 km

narrow gauge: 2,628 km 1.067-m gauge (2014)

Roadways 81/223

total: 44,138 km

paved: 6,387 km

unpaved: 37,751 km (2010)

Merchant marine 153/156

total: 1

by type: cargo 1 (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Luderitz, Walvis Bay

Military and Security

Military branches

Namibian Defense Force (NDF): Army, Navy, Air Force (2013)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)

Military expenditures 20/132

4.2% of GDP (2015)

3.11% of GDP (2012)

3.38% of GDP (2011)

3.11% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

concerns from international experts and local populations over the Okavango Delta ecology in Botswana and human displacement scuttled Namibian plans to construct a hydroelectric dam on Popa Falls along the Angola-Namibia border; the governments of South Africa and Namibia have not signed or ratified the text of the 1994 Surveyor's General agreement placing the boundary in the middle of the Orange River; Namibia has supported, and in 2004 Zimbabwe dropped objections to, plans between Botswana and Zambia to build a bridge over the Zambezi River, thereby de facto recognizing a short, but not clearly delimited, Botswana-Zambia boundary in the river