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Namibia

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. Hifikepunye POHAMBA was elected president in November 2004 in a landslide victory replacing Sam NUJOMA who led the country during its first 14 years of self rule. POHAMBA was reelected in November 2009. SWAPO retained its parliamentary super majority in the November 2014 elections in which Prime Minister Hage GEINGOB was elected to succeed POHAMBA as president and established a system of gender parity in parliamentary positions.

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 fourth-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, Millenium 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.

Namibia GDP (purchasing power parity):
$23.59 billion (2014 est.)
$22.62 billion (2013 est.)
$21.68 billion (2012 est.)
note: data are in 2014 US dollars
country comparison to the world: 137

Namibia GDP (official exchange rate):
$11.98 billion (2014 est.)

Namibia GDP – real growth rate:
4.3% (2014 est.)
4.3% (2013 est.)
5% (2012 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 66

Namibia GDP – per capita (PPP):
$10,800 (2014 est.)
$10,400 (2013 est.)
$10,100 (2012 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
country comparison to the world: 128

Namibia Gross national saving:
20.3% of GDP (2014 est.)
19.6% of GDP (2013 est.)
20.8% of GDP (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79

Namibia GDP – composition, by end use:
household consumption: 64.7%
government consumption: 29%
investment in fixed capital: 27.5%
investment in inventories: -2%
exports of goods and services: 43.5%
imports of goods and services: -62.7%
(2014 est.)

Namibia GDP – composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 6.2%
industry: 30%
services: 63.7%
(2014 est.)

Namibia Agriculture – products:
millet, sorghum, peanuts, grapes; livestock; fish

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

Namibia Industrial production growth rate:
5.7% (2014 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 44

Namibia Labor force:
1.168 million (2014 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 139

Namibia 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.)

Namibia Unemployment rate:
27.4% (2012 est.)
51.2% (2008 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 177

Namibia Population below poverty line:
28.7% (2010 est.)

Namibia Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.4%
highest 10%: 42% (2010)

Namibia Distribution of family income – Gini index:
59.7 (2010)
70.7 (2003)
country comparison to the world: 6

Namibia Budget:
revenues: $5.021 billion
expenditures: $5.659 billion (2014 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:
41.9% of GDP (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 32

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
-5.3% of GDP (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 175

Public debt:
28.6% of GDP (2014 est.)
26.3% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 130

Fiscal year:
1 April – 31 March

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
5.6% (2014 est.)
5.6% (2013 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
5.5% (31 December 2013)
12% (31 December 2010)
* country comparison to the world: 65

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
9% (31 December 2014 est.)
8.29% (31 December 2013 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 99

Stock of narrow money:
$3.867 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$3.23 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 111

Stock of broad money:
$7.496 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$6.574 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 116

Stock of domestic credit:
$6.57 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$5.993 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 115

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$1.305 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$1.152 billion (31 December 2011)
$1.176 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 104

Current account balance:
-$902.9 million (2014 est.)
-$782.5 million (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 113

Exports:
$4.597 billion (2014 est.)
$4.62 billion (2013 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 115

Exports – commodities:
diamonds, copper, gold, zinc, lead, uranium; cattle, white fish and mollusks

Imports:
$7.056 billion (2014 est.)
$6.624 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 116

Imports – commodities:
foodstuffs; petroleum products and fuel, machinery and equipment, chemicals

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$1.651 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$1.503 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 126

Debt – external:
$5.48 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$4.845 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 123

Stock of direct foreign investment – at home:
N/A

Stock of direct foreign investment – abroad:
N/A

Exchange rates:
Namibian dollars (NAD) per US dollar –
10.55 (2014 est.)
9.6551 (2013 est.)
8.2 (2012 est.)
7.2597 (2011 est.)
7.3212 (2010 est.)

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

Geographic coordinates:
22 00 S, 17 00 E

Map references:
Africa

Area:
total: 824,292 sq km
land: 823,290 sq km
water: 1,002 sq km
* country comparison to the world: 34

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 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:
arable land: 0.97%
permanent crops: 0.01%
other: 99.02% (2012 est.)

Irrigated land:
75.73 sq km (2003)

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.

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Dr. Kalumbi ShangulaThe Permanent Secretarykshangula@met.na+264 61 284 2333
Dr. Frederick SikabongoDirectorFreddy_sikabongo@yahoo.co.uk+264 61 284 2751
Mr. Hans AngulaSenior Programme Officerangulah@nacop.net+264 81 249 5525
Mr. Jacobus IzaaksControl Agricultural InspectorIzaaksJ@mawf.gov.na +264 61208 7473