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Introduction - 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 Peoples Organization (SWAPO) guerrilla group launched a war of independence for the area that was soon named 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 won its independence in 1990 and has been governed by SWAPO since. 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.

Location - Namibia:


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

Geographic coordinates

22 00 S, 17 00 E

Map references



total: 825,418 sq km
land: 825,418 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area comparative

slightly more than half the size of Alaska

Land boundaries

total: 3,936 km
border countries: Angola 1,376 km, Botswana 1,360 km, South Africa 967 km, Zambia 233 km


1,572 km

Maritime claims

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

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: 0.99%
permanent crops: 0.01%
other: 99% (2005)

Irrigated land

80 sq km (2003)

Natural hazards

prolonged periods of drought

Environment current issues

very limited natural fresh water 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 - Namibia:


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 and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2007 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 37.7% (male 390,448/female 383,698)
15-64 years: 58.6% (male 606,239/female 597,512)
65 years and over: 3.8% (male 34,926/female 42,257) (2007 est.)

Median age

total: 20.2 years
male: 20.1 years
female: 20.3 years (2007 est.)

Population growth rate

0.478% (2007 est.)

Birth rate

23.52 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Death rate

19.15 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Net migration rate

0.41 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.018 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.015 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.827 male(s)/female
total population: 1.008 male(s)/female (2007 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 47.23 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 51.03 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 43.33 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 43.11 years
male: 44.39 years
female: 41.79 years (2007 est.)

Total fertility rate

2.94 children born/woman (2007 est.)

Hiv aids adult prevalence rate

21.3% (2003 est.)

Hiv aids people living with hiv aids

210,000 (2001 est.)

Hiv aids deaths

16,000 (2003 est.)


noun: Namibian(s)
adjective: Namibian

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria
water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2007)

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 includes Herero 7%, Damara 7%, Nama 5%, Caprivian 4%, Bushmen 3%, Baster 2%, Tswana 0.5%


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


English 7% (official), Afrikaans common language of most of the population and about 60% of the white population, German 32%, indigenous languages 1% (includes Oshivambo, Herero, Nama)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 85%
male: 86.8%
female: 83.5% (2001 census)

Government - Namibia:

Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Namibia
conventional short form: Namibia
local long form: Republic of Namibia
local short form: Namibia
former: German Southwest Africa, South-West Africa

Government type



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

13 regions; Caprivi, Erongo, Hardap, Karas, Khomas, Kunene, Ohangwena, Okavango, Omaheke, Omusati, Oshana, Oshikoto, Otjozondjupa


21 March 1990 (from South African mandate)

National holiday

Independence Day, 21 March (1990)


ratified 9 February 1990, effective 12 March 1990

Legal system

based on Roman-Dutch law and 1990 constitution


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Hifikepunye POHAMBA (since 21 March 2005)
head of government: Prime Minister Nahas ANGULA (since 21 March 2005)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president from among the members of the National Assembly
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 15 November 2004 (next to be held in November 2009)
election results: Hifikepunye POHAMBA elected president; percent of vote - Hifikepunye POHAMBA 76.4%, Den ULENGA 7.3%, Katuutire KAURA 5.1%, Kuaima RIRUAKO 4.2%, Justus GAROEB 3.8%, other 3.2%

Legislative branch

bicameral legislature consists of the National Council (26 seats; two members are chosen from each regional council to serve six-year terms) and the National Assembly (72 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: National Council - elections for regional councils to determine members of the National Council held 29-30 November 2004 (next to be held in November 2010); National Assembly - last held 15-16 November 2004 (next to be held in November 2009)
election results: National Council - percent of vote by party - SWAPO 89.7%, UDF 4.7%, NUDO 2.8%, DTA 1.9%, other 0.9%; seats by party - SWAPO 24, UDF 1, DTA 1; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - SWAPO 76.1%, COD 7.3%, DTA 5.1%, NUDO 4.2%, UDF 3.6%, RP 1.9%, MAG 0.8%, other 1.0%; seats by party - SWAPO 55, COD 5, DTA 4, NUDO 3, UDF 3, RP 1, MAG 1
note: the National Council is primarily an advisory body

Judicial branch

Supreme Court (judges appointed by the president on the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission)

Political parties and leaders

Congress of Democrats or COD [Ben ULENGA]; Democratic Turnhalle Alliance of Namibia or DTA [Katuutire KAURA]; Monitor Action Group or MAG [Jurie VILJOEN]; National Democratic Movement for Change or NamDMC; National Unity Democratic Organization or NUDO [Kuaima RIRUAKO]; Republican Party or RP [Henk MUDGE]; South West Africa National Union or SWANU [Rihupisa KANDANDO]; South West Africa Peoples Organization or SWAPO [Sam Shafishuna NUJOMA]; United Democratic Front or UDF [Justus GAROEB]

Political pressure groups and leaders


International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the us

chief of mission: Ambassador Patrick NANDAGO
chancery: 1605 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 986-0540
FAX: [1] (202) 986-0443

Diplomatic representation from the us

chief of mission: Ambassador Joyce BARR
embassy: Ausplan Building, 14 Lossen Street, Windhoek
mailing address: Private Bag 12029 Ausspannplatz, Windhoek
telephone: [264] (61) 221601
FAX: [264] (61) 229792

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

Economy - Namibia:

Economy overview

The economy is heavily dependent on the extraction and processing of minerals for export. Mining accounts for 20% of GDP. Rich alluvial diamond deposits make Namibia a primary source for gem-quality diamonds. Namibia is the fourth-largest exporter of nonfuel minerals in Africa, the worlds fifth-largest producer of uranium, and the producer of large quantities of lead, zinc, tin, silver, and tungsten. The mining sector employs only about 3% of the population while about half of the population depends on subsistence agriculture for its livelihood. 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 the worlds worst inequality of income distribution. The Namibian economy is closely linked to South Africa with the Namibian dollar pegged one-to-one to the South African rand. Privatization of several enterprises in coming years may stimulate long-run foreign investment. Increased fish production and mining of zinc, copper, uranium, and silver spurred growth in 2003-06.

Gdp purchasing power parity

$15.44 billion (2006 est.)

Gdp official exchange rate

$5.329 billion (2006 est.)

Gdp real growth rate

4.6% (2006 est.)

Gdp per capita ppp

$7,600 (2006 est.)

Gdp composition by sector

agriculture: 11.8%
industry: 30.2%
services: 58.1% (2006 est.)

Labor force

653,000 (2006 est.)

Labor force by occupation

agriculture: 47%
industry: 20%
services: 33% (1999 est.)

Unemployment rate

5.3% (2006 est.)

Population below poverty line

the UNDPs 2005 Human Development Report indicated that 34.9% of the population live on $1 per day and 55.8% live on $2 per day

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 0.5%
highest 10%: 64.5%

Distribution of family income gini index

70.7 (2003)

Inflation rate consumer prices

5% (2006 est.)

Investment gross fixed

25% of GDP (2006 est.)


revenues: $2.233 billion
expenditures: $2.214 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2006 est.)

Public debt

31.6% of GDP (2006 est.)

Agriculture products

millet, sorghum, peanuts, grapes; livestock; fish


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

Industrial production growth rate


Electricity production

1.397 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity consumption

2.819 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity exports

80 million kWh (2004)

Electricity imports

1.6 billion kWh; note - electricity supplied by South Africa (2004)

Oil production

0 bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil consumption

18,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil exports

NA bbl/day

Oil imports

17,580 bbl/day (2004)

Oil proved reserves

0 bbl (1 January 2005)

Natural gas production

0 cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas consumption

0 cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas proved reserves

62.3 billion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)

Current account balance

$572 million (2006 est.)


$2.321 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)

Exports commodities

diamonds, copper, gold, zinc, lead, uranium; cattle, processed fish, karakul skins

Exports partners

South Africa 33.4%, US 4% (2006)


$2.456 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)

Imports commodities

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

Imports partners

South Africa 85.2%, US (2006)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$480 million (2006 est.)

Debt external

$887 million (2006 est.)

Economic aid recipient

ODA, $160 million (2000 est.)

Currency code

Namibian dollar (NAD); South African rand (ZAR)

Exchange rates

Namibian dollars per US dollar - 6.7649 (2006), 6.3593 (2005), 6.4597 (2004), 7.5648 (2003), 10.5407 (2002)

Communications - Namibia:

Fiscal year

1 April - 31 March

Telephones main lines in use

138,900 (2005)

Telephones mobile cellular

495,000 (2005)

Telephone system

general assessment: good system; about 6 telephones for each 100 persons
domestic: good urban services; fair rural service; microwave radio relay links major towns; connections to other populated places are by open wire; 100% digital
international: country code - 264; fiber-optic cable to South Africa, microwave radio relay link to Botswana, direct links to other neighboring countries; connected to Africa ONE and South African Far East (SAFE) submarine cables through South Africa; satellite earth stations - 4 Intelsat (2002)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 2, FM 39, shortwave 4 (2001)

Television broadcast stations

8 (plus about 20 repeaters) (1997)

Internet country code


Internet hosts

3,527 (2006)

Internet users

80,600 (2005)

Transportation - Namibia:


137 (2006)

Airports with paved runways

total: 21
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 13
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2006)

Airports with unpaved runways

total: 116
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 22
914 to 1,523 m: 72
under 914 m: 20 (2006)


total: 2,382 km
narrow gauge: 2,382 km 1.067-m gauge (2006)


total: 42,237 km
paved: 5,406 km
unpaved: 36,831 km (2002)

Merchant marine

total: 1 ship (1000 GRT or over) 2,265 GRT/3,605 DWT
by type: cargo 1 (2006)

Ports and terminals

Luderitz, Walvis Bay

Military - Namibia:

Military branches

Namibian Defense Force: Army, Navy, Air Wing (2006)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)

Manpower available for military service

males age 18-49: 441,293 (2005 est.)

Manpower fit for military service

males age 18-49: 217,118 (2005 est.)

Military expenditures percent of gdp

3.7% (2006)

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; managed dispute with South Africa over the location of the boundary in 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

This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>

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