Namibia

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Background

Namibia gained independence in 1990. Prior to independence, apartheid South Africa occupied the former German colony known as 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, though the party has dropped much of its Marxist ideology. President Hage GEINGOB was elected in 2014 in a landslide victory, replacing Hifikepunye POHAMBA who stepped down after serving two terms. SWAPO retained its parliamentary super majority in the 2014 elections. In 2019 elections, GEINGOB was reelected but by a substantially reduced majority and SWAPO narrowly lost its super majority in parliament.

Geography

Location

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

Coordinates

latitude: 22 00 S
longitude: 17 00 E

Area

Total area: 824,292 sq km
Land area: 823,290 sq km
Water area: 1,002 sq km

Climate

desert; hot, dry; rainfall sparse and erratic

Terrain

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

Elevation

Mean: 1,141 m
Lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
Highest point: Konigstein on Brandberg 2,573 m

Resources

diamonds, copper, uranium, gold, silver, lead, tin, lithium, cadmium, tungsten, zinc, salt, hydropower, fish, oil, coal, iron ore

Land

Agricultural: 47.2%
Forest: 8.8%
Other:

Society

Population

2630073

Etnicity

Ovambo: 50%
Kavangos: 9%
Herero: 7%
Damara: 7%
mixed European and African ancestry: 6.5%
European: 6%
Nama: 5%
Caprivian: 4%
San: 3%
Baster: 2%
Tswana: 5%

Languages

English(official), Oshiwambo languages, Nama/Damara, Kavango languages, Afrikaans, Herero languages, Zambezi languages

Religions

Christian: 80% to 90%
indigenous beliefs: 10% to 20%

Age

Age group of 0-14: 35.68% of total population (473937 male/464453 female)

Age group of 15-24: 20.27% of total population (267106 male/265882 female)

Age group of 25-54: 35.47% of total population (449132 male/483811 female)

Age group of 55-64: 4.68% of total population (54589 male/68619 female)

Age group of 65+: 3.9% of total population (43596 male/58948 female)

Total age median: 21.8
Male age median: 21.1
Female age median: 22.6
Total life expectency: 65.3
Male life expectency: 63.3
Female life expectency: 67.3

Urbanization

People living in urban areas: 52% of total population

Rate of urbanization: 4.2%

Major urban areas:

WINDHOEK: 431,000

Literacy

Total literacy: 91.5%
Male literacy:
Female literacy:

Government

Government type

presidential republic

Capital city

Windhoek

Chief of state

President Hage GEINGOB (elected 21 March 2015)

Head of government

President Hage GEINGOB (elected 21 March 2015)

Legal system

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

State symbols

Symbols:
oryx (antelope)

Colors:
blue, red, green, white, yellow

Anthem:
Namibia, Land of the Brave

Economy

Overview

Namibia’s economy is heavily dependent on the extraction and processing of minerals for export. Mining accounts for about 12.5% 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 increasingly important as the terrestrial diamond supply has dwindled. The rising cost of mining diamonds, especially from the sea, combined with increased diamond production in Russia and China, has reduced profit margins. Namibian authorities have emphasized the need to add value to raw materials, do more in-country manufacturing, and exploit the services market, especially in the logistics and transportation sectors.

Namibia is one of the world’s largest producers of uranium. The Chinese-owned Husab uranium mine began producing uranium ore in 2017, and is expected to reach full production in August 2018 and produce 15 million pounds of uranium a year. Namibia also produces large quantities of zinc and is a smaller producer of gold and copper. Namibia's economy remains vulnerable to world commodity price fluctuations and drought.

Namibia normally imports about 50% of its cereal requirements; in drought years, food shortages are problematic in rural areas. A high per capita GDP, relative to the region, obscures one of the world's most unequal income distributions; the current government has prioritized exploring wealth redistribution schemes while trying to maintain a pro-business environment. GDP growth in 2017 slowed to about 1%, however, due to contractions in both the construction and mining sectors, as well as an ongoing drought. Growth is expected to recover modestly in 2018.

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 and global mineral prices complicates budget planning.

GDP

GDP amount: $26.6 billion
GDP growth:
GDP per capita: -0.8%
GDP savings: $11,200
GDP from agriculture: 6.7%
GDP from industry: 26.3%
GDP from services: 67%

Agricultural products

millet, sorghum, peanuts, grapes, livestock, fish

Industries

meatpacking, fish processing, dairy products, pasta, beverages, mining

Labor force

Total amount: 956,800
In agriculture: 31%
In industry: 14%
In services: 54%

Exports

Total amount: $3.995 billion
Partners: South Africa(27.1%), Botswana(14.9%), Switzerland(12%), Zambia(5.7%), China(4.6%), Italy(4.4%)
Commodities: diamonds, copper, gold, zinc, lead, uranium, cattle, white fish and mollusks

Imports

Total amount: $5.384 billion
Partners: South Africa(61.4%)
Commodities: foodstuffs, petroleum products and fuel, machinery and equipment, chemicals

Energy

Electricity

Access: 51.8%
Production: 1.403 billion kWh
Consumption: 3.891 billion kWh
Exports: 88 million kWh
Imports: 3.073 billion kWh
Sources:
fossil fuel: 28%
nuclear: 0%
hydroelectric: 64%
other renewable sources: 8%

Crude oil

Production: 0 bbl/day
Exports: 0 bbl/day
Imports: 0 bbl/day

Refined petroleum products

Production: 0 bbl/day
Consumption: 27,000 bbl/day
Exports: 80 bbl/day
Imports: 26,270 bbl/day

Natural gas

Production: 0 cu m
Consumption: 0 cu m
Exports: 0 cu m
Imports: 0 cu m

Communication

Telephones

Fixed lines subscribers: 154816
Mobile cellular subscribtions: 2759293

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

Internet

Internet code: .na
Total users: 756,118

Military and security

Expenditure

3.35% of GDP

Military forces

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

Obligation

no conscription

Transportation

Airports

Total: 112
Paved: 19
Unpaved: 93

Pipelines

Gas: 0 km
Oil: 0 km

Railways

2,628 km

Roadways

Total: 48,875 km
Paved: 7,893 km
Unpaved: 40,982 km

Waterways

0 km

Transnational issues

Disputes

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

Trafficing

Namibia is a country of origin and destination for children and, to a lesser extent, women subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; victims, lured by promises of legitimate jobs, are forced to work in urban centers and on commercial farms; traffickers exploit Namibian children, as well as children from Angola, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, for forced labor in agriculture, cattle herding, domestic service, fishing, and street vending; children are also forced into prostitution, often catering to tourists from southern Africa and Europe; San and Zemba children are particularly vulnerable; foreign adults and Namibian adults and children are reportedly subjected to forced labor in Chinese-owned retail, construction, and fishing operations

Rank 2- Namibia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; Namibia was granted a waiver from an otherwise required downgrade to Tier 3 because its government has a written plan that, if implemented would constitute making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; in 2015, the Child Care and Protection Bill passed, criminalizing child trafficking; the government’s first sex trafficking prosecution remained pending; no new prosecutions were initiated and no trafficking offenders have ever been convicted; accusations of forced labor at Chinese construction and mining companies continue to go uninvestigated; authorities failed to fully implement victim identification and referral processes, which led to the deportation of possible victims