Facts About : 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, 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 :: NAMIBIA

  • Southern Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Angola and South Africa
    22 00 S, 17 00 E
    total: 824,292 sq km
    land: 823,290 sq km
    water: 1,002 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 34
    slightly more than half the size of Alaska
    total: 4,220 km
    border countries (4): Angola 1,427 km, Botswana 1,544 km, South Africa 1,005 km, Zambia 244 km
    1,572 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    desert; hot, dry; rainfall sparse and erratic
    mostly high plateau; Namib Desert along coast; Kalahari Desert in east
    lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Konigstein 2,606 m
    diamonds, copper, uranium, gold, silver, lead, tin, lithium, cadmium, tungsten, zinc, salt, hydropower, fish
    note: suspected deposits of oil, coal, and iron ore
    agricultural land: 47.2%
    arable land 1%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 46.2%
    forest: 8.8%
    other: 44% (2011 est.)
    75.73 sq km (2003)
    17.72 cu km (2011)
    total: 0.29 cu km/yr (25%/5%/70%)
    per capita: 146 cu m/yr (2002)
    prolonged periods of drought
    limited natural freshwater resources; desertification; wildlife poaching; land degradation has led to few conservation areas
    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
    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 :: NAMIBIA

  • noun: Namibian(s)
    adjective: Namibian
    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%
    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.)
    Christian 80% to 90% (at least 50% Lutheran), indigenous beliefs 10% to 20%
    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.)
    country comparison to the world: 143
    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.)
    population pyramid: 
    total dependency ratio: 67.3%
    youth dependency ratio: 61.4%
    elderly dependency ratio: 5.9%
    potential support ratio: 17% (2015 est.)
    total: 23.1 years
    male: 23.1 years
    female: 23.1 years (2015 est.)
    0.59% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 151
    19.8 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 85
    13.91 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 8
    0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 86
    urban population: 46.7% of total population (2015)
    rate of urbanization: 4.16% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    WINDHOEK (capital) 368,000 (2015)
    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.)
    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.)
    country comparison to the world: 44
    total population: 51.62 years
    male: 52.05 years
    female: 51.18 years (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 220
    2.17 children born/woman (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 101
    55.1% (2006/07)
    7.7% of GDP (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 54
    0.37 physicians/1,000 population (2007)
    2.7 beds/1,000 population (2009)
    urban: 98.2% of population
    rural: 84.6% of population
    total: 91% of population
    urban: 1.8% of population
    rural: 15.4% of population
    total: 9% of population (2015 est.)
    urban: 54.5% of population
    rural: 16.8% of population
    total: 34.4% of population
    urban: 45.5% of population
    rural: 83.2% of population
    total: 65.6% of population (2015 est.)
    15.97% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 6
    245,400 (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 24
    5,100 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 31
    degree of risk: high
    food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
    vectorborne disease: malaria
    water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2013)
    16.8% (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 133
    13.2% (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 37
    8.5% of GDP (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 9
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 81.9%
    male: 79.2%
    female: 84.5% (2015 est.)
    total: 11 years
    male: 11 years
    female: 11 years (2006)
    total: 34.3%
    male: 29.4%
    female: 40.1% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 19
  • Government :: NAMIBIA

  • 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
    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
    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
    21 March 1990 (from South African mandate)
    Independence Day, 21 March (1990)
    drafted 9 February 1990, signed 16 March 1990, entered into force 21 March 1990; amended 1998, 2010 (2010)
    mixed legal system of uncodified civil law based on Roman-Dutch law and customary law
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    18 years of age; universal
    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%
    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 26-27 November 2010 (next to be held in November 2015); 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
    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
    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]
    Congress of Democrats or CoD [Ben ULENGA]
    Democratic Turnhalle Alliance of Namibia or DTA [McHenry VENAANI]
    National Unity Democratic Organization or NUDO [Kuaima RIRUAKO]
    Rally for Democracy and Progress or RDP [Hidipo HAMUTENYA]
    Republican Party or RP [Henk MUDGE]
    South West Africa National Union or SWANU [Usutuaije MAAMBERUA]
    South West Africa People's Organization or SWAPO [Hifikepunye POHAMBA]
    United Democratic Front or UDF [Justus //GAROEB]
    United People's Movement or UPM [Jan J. VAN WYK]
    National Society for Human Rights or NAMRIGHTS
    other: various labor unions
    chief of mission: Ambassador Martin ANDJABA (since 3 September 2010)
    chancery: 1605 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
    telephone: [1] (202) 986-0540
    FAX: [1] (202) 986-0443
    chief of mission: Ambassador Thomas Frederick DAUGHTON (since 6 October 2014)
    embassy: 14 Lossen Street, Windhoek
    mailing address: Private Bag 12029 Ausspannplatz, Windhoek
    telephone: [264] (61) 295-8500
    FAX: [264] (61) 295-8603
    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
    oryx (antelope); national colors: blue, red, green, white, yellow
    name: "Namibia, Land of the Brave"
    lyrics/music: Axali DOESEB
    note: adopted 1991
  • Economy :: NAMIBIA

  • 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.
    $23.82 billion (2014 est.)
    $22.79 billion (2013 est.)
    $21.3 billion (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2014 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 137
    $13.35 billion (2014 est.)
    5.3% (2014 est.)
    5.1% (2013 est.)
    5.2% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 66
    $10,800 (2014 est.)
    $10,200 (2013 est.)
    $9,700 (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2014 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 128