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Namibia Flag

Capital City: Windhoek

Border countries: Angola, Botswana, South Africa, Zambia  

Internet Links

Official Sites of Namibia

Republic of Namibia

Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Namibia

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Permanent Mission of the Republic of Namibia to the UN

Map of Namibia



Background:  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 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.  Independence came
in 1990.

Geography Namibia

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

Coastline:  1,572 km

Maritime claims:   200 NM territorial sea: 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, lead, tin, lithium,
cadmium, zinc, salt, vanadium, natural gas, hydropower, fish note:
suspected deposits of oil, coal, and iron ore

Land use:  arable land: 1% permanent crops: 0% other: 99% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  70 sq km (1998 est.)

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, 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

Population:  1,820,916 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 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 42.6% (male 392,706; female 382,690) 15-64
years: 53.7% (male 490,151; female 488,052) 65 years and over: 3.7%
(male 29,345; female 37,972) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  1.19% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  34.17 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  22.28 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:  at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.03
male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.77
male(s)/female total population: 1 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  72.43 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   37.07 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  4.77 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  19.54% (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  160,000 (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  18,000 (1999 est.)

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

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

Languages:  English 7% (official), Afrikaans common language of most
of the population and about 60% of the white population, German 32%,
indigenous languages: Literacy:  definition: age 15 and over can read
and write total population: 38% male: 45% female: 31% (1960 est.)

Government Namibia

Country name:   Republic of Namibia conventional short form: Government
type:  republic

Capital:  Windhoek

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

Independence:  21 March 1990 (from South African mandate)

National holiday:  Independence Day, 21 March (1990)

Constitution:  ratified 9 February 1990; effective 12 March 1990

Legal system:  based on Roman-Dutch law and 1990 constitution

Suffrage:  18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:  chief of state: President Sam Shafishuna NUJOMA (since
21 March 1990); note - the president is both the chief of state and
head of government head of government: President Sam Shafishuna NUJOMA
(since 21 March 1990); note - the president is both the chief of state
and head of government 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; election last held 30 November-1
December 1999 (next to be held NA 2004) election results: Sam Shafishuna
NUJOMA elected president; percent of vote - Sam Shafishuna NUJOMA 77%

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 30 November-1 December 1998 (next to be held by
December 2004); National Assembly - last held 30 November-1 December 1999
(next to be held by December 2004) note: the National Council is primarily
an advisory body election results: National Council - percent of vote by
party - NA%; seats by party - SWAPO 21, DTA 4, UDF 1; National Assembly -
percent of vote by party - SWAPO 76%, COD 10%, DTA 9%, UDF 3%, MAG 1%,
other 1%; seats by party - SWAPO 55, COD 7, DTA 7, UDF 2, MAG 1,

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,
president]; Monitor Action Group or MAG [Kosie PRETORIUS]; South West
Africa People's Organization or SWAPO [Sam Shafishuna NUJOMA]; United
Democratic Front or UDF [Justus GAROEB]

Political pressure groups and leaders:  NA

International organization participation:  ACP, AfDB, C, CCC, ECA, FAO,
Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OAU,

Diplomatic representation in the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador Leonard
Nangolo IIPUMBU chancery: 1605 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington,
DC 20009 FAX: [1] (202) 986-0443 telephone: [1] (202) 986-0540

Diplomatic representation from the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador
Kevin J. McGUIRE 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 large blue triangle with a yellow sunburst fills
the upper left section and an equal green triangle (solid) fills the
lower right section; the triangles are separated by a red stripe that
is contrasted by two narrow white-edge borders

Economy Namibia

Economy - overview:  The economy is heavily dependent on the extraction
and processing of minerals for export. Mining accounts for 20% of
GDP. Namibia is the fourth-largest exporter of nonfuel minerals in
Africa and the world's fifth-largest producer of uranium. Rich alluvial
diamond deposits make Namibia a primary source for gem-quality diamonds.
Namibia also produces large quantities of lead, zinc, tin, silver,
and tungsten. About half of the population depends on agriculture
(largely subsistence agriculture) for its livelihood. Namibia must
import some of its food. Although per capita GDP is five times the per
capita GDP of Africa's poorest countries, the majority of Namibia's
people live in pronounced poverty because of large-scale unemployment,
the great inequality of income distribution, and the large amount of
wealth going to foreigners. The Namibian economy has close links to South
Africa. Agreement has been reached on the privatization of several more
enterprises in coming years, which should stimulate long-run foreign

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $8.1 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  4% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $4,500 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 11% industry: 28% services:
61% (2000 est.)

Population below poverty line:  NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  8.8% (2001)

Labor force:  500,000

Labor force - by occupation:  agriculture 47%, industry 20%, services 33%
(1999 est.)

Unemployment rate:  30% to 40%, including underemployment (1997 est.)

Budget:  revenues: $883 million expenditures: $950 million, including
capital expenditures of $NA (1998)

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

Industrial production growth rate:  NA

Electricity - production:  30 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 2% other: 0% (2000)
hydro: 98% nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  890.9 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  0 kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  863 million kWh note: supplied by South Africa

Agriculture - products:  millet, sorghum, peanuts; livestock; fish

Exports:  $1.58 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

Exports - commodities:  diamonds, copper, gold, zinc, lead, uranium;
cattle, processed fish, karakul skins

Exports - partners:  UK 43%, South Africa 26%, Spain 14%, France 8%,
Japan (1998 est.)

Imports:  $1.71 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

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

Imports - partners:  South Africa 81%, US 4%, Germany 2% (1997 est.)

Debt - external:  $217 million (2000 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:  $127 million (1998)

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

Currency code:  NAD; ZAR

Exchange rates:  Namibian dollars per US dollar - 11.58786 (January 2002),
8.60918 (2001), 6.93983 (2000), 6.10948 (1999), 5.52828 (1998), 4.60796

Fiscal year:  1 April - 31 March

Communications Namibia

Telephones - main lines in use:  110,200 (2000)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  82,000 (2000)

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: 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)

Radios:  232,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  8 (plus about 20 low-power repeaters)

Televisions:  60,000 (1997)

Internet country code:  .na

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  2 (2000)

Internet users:  30,000 (2001)

Transportation Namibia

Railways:  total: 2,382 km narrow gauge: 2,382 km 1.067-m gauge (2001)

Highways:  total: 64,800 km paved: 5,378 km unpaved: 59,430 km (2001)

Waterways:  none

Ports and harbors:  Luderitz, Walvis Bay

Merchant marine:  none (2002 est.)

Airports:  137 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 22 over 3,047 m: 2 2,438 to 3,047
m: 2 1,524 to 2,437 m: 14 914 to 1,523 m: 4 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:   21 914 to 1,523 m: Military Namibia

Military branches:  National Defense Force (Army, including Air Wing),

Military manpower - availability:  males age 15-49: 436,642 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:  males age 15-49: 260,879
(2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $104.4 million (2001)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  2.6% (FY97/98)

Transnational Issues Namibia

Disputes - international:  none

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002


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