Photos of Namibia

Introduction

Background

Various ethnic groups occupied southwestern Africa prior to Germany establishing a colony over most of the territory in 1884. South Africa occupied the colony, then known as German South West Africa, in 1915 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 gained independence in 1990 and has been governed by SWAPO since, 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. 

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

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

Geographic coordinates

22 00 S, 17 00 E

Area

total: 824,292 sq km

land: 823,290 sq km

water: 1,002 sq km

comparison ranking: total 35

Area - comparative

almost seven times the size of Pennsylvania; slightly more than half the size of Alaska

Area comparison map:
Area comparison map

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

highest point: Konigstein on Brandberg 2,573 m

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

mean elevation: 1,141 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

agricultural land: 47.2% (2018 est.)

arable land: 1% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 46.2% (2018 est.)

forest: 8.8% (2018 est.)

other: 44% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

80 sq km (2012)

Major rivers (by length in km)

Zambezi (shared with Zambia [s]), Angola, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique [m]) - 2,740 km; Orange river mouth (shared with Lesotho [s], and South Africa) - 2,092 km; Okavango (shared with Angola [s], and Botswana [m]) - 1,600 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Orange (941,351 sq km)
Indian Ocean drainage: Zambezi (1,332,412 sq km)
Internal (endorheic basin) drainage: Okavango Basin (863,866 sq km)

Major aquifers

Lower Kalahari-Stampriet Basin, Upper Kalahari-Cuvelai-Upper Zambezi Basin

Population distribution

population density is very low, with the largest clustering found in the extreme north-central area along the border with Angola as shown in this population distribution map

Natural hazards

prolonged periods of drought

Geography - note

the Namib Desert, after which the country is named, is considered to be the oldest desert in the world; Namibia is the 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; Namib-Naukluft National Park (49,768 sq km), is the largest game park in Africa and one of the largest in the world

People and Society

Population

2,777,232 (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 141

Nationality

noun: Namibian(s)

adjective: Namibian

Ethnic groups

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 0.5%

Languages

Oshiwambo languages 49.7%, Nama/Damara 11%, Kavango languages 10.4%, Afrikaans 9.4% (also a common language), Herero languages 9.2%, Zambezi languages 4.9%, English (official) 2.3%, other African languages 1.5%, other European languages 0.7%, other 1% (2016 est.)

note: Namibia has 13 recognized national languages, including 10 indigenous African languages and 3 European languages

Religions

Christian 97.5%, other 0.6% (includes Muslim, Baha'i, Jewish, Buddhist), unaffiliated 1.9% (2020 est.)

Demographic profile

Planning officials view Namibia’s reduced population growth rate as sustainable based on the country’s economic growth over the past decade. Prior to independence in 1990, Namibia’s relatively small population grew at about 3% annually, but declining fertility and the impact of HIV/AIDS slowed this growth to 1.4% by 2011, rebounding to close to 2% by 2016. Namibia’s fertility rate has fallen over the last two decades – from about 4.5 children per woman in 1996 to 3.4 in 2016 and to 3 in 2022 – due to increased contraceptive use, higher educational attainment among women, and greater female participation in the labor force. The average age at first birth has stayed fairly constant, but the age at first marriage continues to increase, indicating a rising incidence of premarital childbearing.

The majority of Namibians are rural dwellers (about 55%) and live in the better-watered north and northeast parts of the country. Migration, historically male-dominated, generally flows from northern communal areas – non-agricultural lands where blacks were sequestered under the apartheid system – to agricultural, mining, and manufacturing centers in the center and south. After independence from South Africa, restrictions on internal movement eased, and rural-urban migration increased, bolstering urban growth.

Some Namibians – usually persons who are better-educated, more affluent, and from urban areas – continue to legally migrate to South Africa temporarily to visit family and friends and, much less frequently, to pursue tertiary education or better economic opportunities. Namibians concentrated along the country’s other borders make unauthorized visits to Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, or Botswana, to visit family and to trade agricultural goods. Few Namibians express interest in permanently settling in other countries; they prefer the safety of their homeland, have a strong national identity, and enjoy a well-supplied retail sector. Although Namibia is receptive to foreign investment and cross-border trade, intolerance toward non-citizens is widespread.

Age structure

0-14 years: 34.38% (male 482,432/female 472,474)

15-64 years: 61.68% (male 834,001/female 878,865)

65 years and over: 3.94% (2023 est.) (male 46,235/female 63,225)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 67.3

youth dependency ratio: 60.6

elderly dependency ratio: 6.7

potential support ratio: 14.8 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 22.5 years (2023 est.)

male: 21.8 years

female: 23.2 years

comparison ranking: total 180

Population growth rate

1.66% (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 57

Birth rate

24.6 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 47

Death rate

8.1 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 86

Net migration rate

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 88

Population distribution

population density is very low, with the largest clustering found in the extreme north-central area along the border with Angola as shown in this population distribution map

Urbanization

urban population: 54.9% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 3.64% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

477,000 WINDHOEK (capital) (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.73 male(s)/female

total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

21.6 years (2013 est.)

note: data represents median age at first birth among women 25-49

Maternal mortality ratio

215 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 44

Infant mortality rate

total: 28.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

male: 31.7 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 25.5 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 55

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 63.7 years (2023 est.)

male: 62.1 years

female: 65.4 years

comparison ranking: total population 209

Total fertility rate

2.94 children born/woman (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 50

Gross reproduction rate

1.45 (2023 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 98.9% of population

rural: 83.2% of population

total: 91.4% of population

unimproved: urban: 1.1% of population

rural: 16.8% of population

total: 8.6% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

8.9% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

0.59 physicians/1,000 population (2018)

Hospital bed density

2.7 beds/1,000 population

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 70.6% of population

rural: 23.6% of population

total: 48.1% of population

unimproved: urban: 29.4% of population

rural: 76.4% of population

total: 51.9% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: high (2023)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: malaria, and sexually transmitted diseases: HIV/AIDS (2024)

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

17.2% (2016)

comparison ranking: 119

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 2.38 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 1.37 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.16 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0.53 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0.32 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 126

Tobacco use

total: 15.1% (2020 est.)

male: 24.2% (2020 est.)

female: 6% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 103

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

13.2% (2013)

comparison ranking: 39

Education expenditures

9.6% of GDP (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: 7

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 92.3%

male: 90.6%

female: 92.3% (2021)

Environment

Environment - current issues

depletion and degradation of water and aquatic resources; desertification; land degradation; loss of biodiversity and biotic resources; wildlife poaching

Environment - international agreements

party to: Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Climate

desert; hot, dry; rainfall sparse and erratic

Land use

agricultural land: 47.2% (2018 est.)

arable land: 1% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 46.2% (2018 est.)

forest: 8.8% (2018 est.)

other: 44% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 54.9% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 3.64% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Food insecurity

severe localized food insecurity: due to localized shortfalls in cereal production and rising food prices - cereal production increased in 2022 and this is expected to have a positive impact on food security, however, rising prices of basic foods is likely to limit a more substantial improvement (2022)

Revenue from forest resources

0.47% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 68

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 124

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 11.81 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 4.23 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 10.4 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 256,729 tons (1993 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 11,553 tons (2005 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 4.5% (2005 est.)

Major rivers (by length in km)

Zambezi (shared with Zambia [s]), Angola, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique [m]) - 2,740 km; Orange river mouth (shared with Lesotho [s], and South Africa) - 2,092 km; Okavango (shared with Angola [s], and Botswana [m]) - 1,600 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Orange (941,351 sq km)
Indian Ocean drainage: Zambezi (1,332,412 sq km)
Internal (endorheic basin) drainage: Okavango Basin (863,866 sq km)

Major aquifers

Lower Kalahari-Stampriet Basin, Upper Kalahari-Cuvelai-Upper Zambezi Basin

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 70 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 10 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 201 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

39.91 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Government

Country name

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-Suedwestafrika), South-West Africa

etymology: named for the coastal Namib Desert; the name "namib" means "vast place" in the Nama/Damara language

Government type

presidential republic

Capital

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

etymology: may derive from the Afrikaans word "wind-hoek" meaning "windy corner"

Administrative divisions

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

Independence

21 March 1990 (from South African mandate)

National holiday

Independence Day, 21 March (1990)

Constitution

history: adopted 9 February 1990, entered into force 21 March 1990

amendments: passage requires majority vote of the National Assembly membership and of the National Council of Parliament and assent of the president of the republic; if the National Council fails to pass an amendment, the president can call for a referendum; passage by referendum requires two-thirds majority of votes cast; amendments that detract from or repeal constitutional articles on fundamental rights and freedoms cannot be amended, and the requisite majorities needed by Parliament to amend the constitution cannot be changed; amended 1998, 2010, 2014

Legal system

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

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Namibia

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: Acting President Nangolo MBUMBA (since 4 February 2024); Acting Vice President Netumbo NANDI-NDAITWAHNOTE (since 4 February 2024); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government; President Hage GEINGOB died on 4 February 2024, and Vice President MBUMBA was sworn in to run the government until the next presidential election in November 2024

head of government: Acting President Nangolo MBUMBA (since 4 February 2024); Acting Vice President Netumbo NANDI-NDAITWAHNOTE (since 4 February 2024); Prime Minister Saara KUUGONGELWA-AMADHILA (since 21 March 2015); note - the prime minister is appointed by the president to coordinate the work of the cabinet, advise the president, and is second in line of succession if the president is unable to serve; note - President Hage GEINGOB died on 4 February 2024, and the Vice President MBUMBA was sworn in to run the government until the next presidential election in November 2024

 



cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president from among members of the National Assembly

elections/appointments: president directly 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 28 November 2019 (next to be held in November 2024)

election results:
2019: Hage GEINGOB reelected president in the first round; percent of vote - Hage GEINGOB (SWAPO) 56.3%, Panduleni ITULA (independent) 29.4%, McHenry VENAANI (PDM) 5.3%, other .9%

2014: Hage GEINGOB elected president in the first round; percent of vote - Hage GEINGOB (SWAPO) 86.7%, McHenry VENAANI (DTA) 5%, Hidipo HAMUTENYA (RDP) 3.4%, Asser MBAI (NUDO)1.9%, Henk MUDGE (RP) 1%, other 2%

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament consists of:
National Council (42 seats); members indirectly elected 3 each by the 14 regional councils to serve 5-year terms); note - the Council primarily reviews legislation passed and referred by the National Assembly
National Assembly (104 seats; 96 members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by closed list, proportional representation vote to serve 5-year terms and 8 nonvoting members appointed by the president)

elections: National Council - elections for regional councils to determine members of the National Council held on 25 November 2020 (next to be held on 25 November 2025)
National Assembly - last held on 27 November 2019 (next to be held in 2024)

election results:

National Council - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - SWAPO 28, LPM 6,IPC 2, PDM 2, UDF 2, NUDO 1, independent 1; composition as of July 2022 - men 36, women 6, percent of women 14.3%

National Assembly - percent of vote by party - SWAPO 65.5%, PDM 16.6%, LPM 4.7%, NUDO 1.9%, APP 1.8%, UDF 1.8%, RP 1.8%, NEFF 1.7%, RDP 1.1%, CDV .7%, SWANU .6%, other 1.8%; seats by party - SWAPO 63, PDM 16, LPM 4, NUDO 2, APP 2, UDF 2, RP 2, NEFF 2, RDP 1, CDV 1, SWANU 1; composition as of July 2022 - men 58, women 46, percent of women 44.2%; note - overall percent of women in Parliament 35.6%

Judicial branch

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 terms can be extended by the president until age 70

subordinate courts: High Court; Electoral Court, Labor Court; regional and district magistrates' courts; community courts

Political parties and leaders

All People's Party or APP (Erastus SHUUMBWA)
Christian Democratic Voice or CDV [Gothard KANDUME]
Landless People's Movement or LPM [Bernadus SWARTBOOI]
National Unity Democratic Organization or NUDO [Esther MUINJANGUE]
Namibian Economic Freedom Fighters or NEFF [Epafras MUKWIILONGO]
Popular Democratic Movement or PDM [McHenry VENAANI] (formerly Democratic Turnhalle Alliance or DTA) 
Rally for Democracy and Progress or RDP [Mike KAVEKOTORA]
Republican Party or RP [Henk MUDGE]
South West Africa National Union or SWANU [Charles KATJIVIRUE]
South West Africa People's Organization or SWAPO [Hage GEINGOB]
United Democratic Front or UDF [Apius AUCHAB]
United People's Movement or UPM [Jan J. VAN WYK]

International organization participation

ACP, AfDB, AU, C, CD, CPLP (associate observer), FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NAM, OPCW, SACU, SADC, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNHRC, UNIDO, UNISFA, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Margaret Natalie MENSAH-WILLIAMS (since 18 January 2021)

chancery: 1605 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009

telephone: [1] (202) 986-0540

FAX: [1] (202) 986-0443

email address and website:
info@namibiaembassyusa.org

https://namibiaembassyusa.org/

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Randy William BERRY (since 9 February 2023)

embassy: 38 Metje Street, Klein Windhoek, Windhoek

mailing address: 2540 Windhoek Place, Washington DC  20521-2540

telephone: [264] (061) 295-8500

FAX: [264] (061) 202-5219

email address and website:
ConsularWindhoek@state.gov

https://na.usembassy.gov/

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 golden-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 golden-yellow sun denotes power and existence; green symbolizes vegetation and agricultural resources

National symbol(s)

oryx (antelope); national colors: blue, red, green, white, yellow

National anthem

name: "Namibia, Land of the Brave"

lyrics/music: Axali DOESEB

note: adopted 1991

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 2 (1 cultural, 1 natural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Twyfelfontein or /Ui-//aes (c); Namib Sand Sea (n)

Economy

Economic overview

upper middle-income, export-driven Sub-Saharan economy; natural resource rich; Walvis Bay port expansion for trade; high potential for renewable power generation and energy independence; major nature-based tourist locale; natural resource rich; shortage of skilled labor

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$25.061 billion (2022 est.)
$23.299 billion (2021 est.)
$22.506 billion (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 150

Real GDP growth rate

7.56% (2022 est.)
3.52% (2021 est.)
-8.1% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 37

Real GDP per capita

$9,800 (2022 est.)
$9,200 (2021 est.)
$9,000 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 143

GDP (official exchange rate)

$12.915 billion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

6.08% (2022 est.)
3.62% (2021 est.)
2.21% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

comparison ranking: 93

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: BB (2019)

Moody's rating: Ba3 (2020)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 6.7% (2016 est.)

industry: 26.3% (2016 est.)

services: 67% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 87; industry 105; agriculture 114

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 68.7% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 24.5% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 16% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 1.6% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 36.7% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -47.5% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

beef, milk, grapes, millet, maize, mutton, pork, chickens, goats, wheat

Industries

mining, tourism, fishing, agriculture

Industrial production growth rate

22.46% (2022 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 5

Labor force

968,000 (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

comparison ranking: 148

Unemployment rate

19.99% (2022 est.)
21.15% (2021 est.)
21.15% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment

comparison ranking: 207

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 40.4% (2021 est.)

male: 39.4%

female: 41.7%

comparison ranking: total 13

Population below poverty line

17.4% (2015 est.)

note: % of population with income below national poverty line

Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

59.1 (2015 est.)

note: index (0-100) of income distribution; higher values represent greater inequality

comparison ranking: 2

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 1%

highest 10%: 47.3% (2015 est.)

note: % share of income accruing to lowest and highest 10% of population

Remittances

0.42% of GDP (2022 est.)
0.37% of GDP (2021 est.)
0.6% of GDP (2020 est.)

note: personal transfers and compensation between resident and non-resident individuals/households/entities

Budget

revenues: $4.004 billion (2019 est.)

expenditures: $4.693 billion (2019 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-5.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 172

Public debt

4.64% of GDP (2019 est.)
5.49% of GDP (2018 est.)
5.44% of GDP (2017 est.)

note: central government debt as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 204

Taxes and other revenues

27.97% (of GDP) (2021 est.)

note: central government tax revenue as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 33

Fiscal year

1 April - 31 March

Current account balance

-$1.634 billion (2022 est.)
-$1.274 billion (2021 est.)
$270.73 million (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - net trade and primary/secondary income in current dollars

comparison ranking: 142

Exports

$5.099 billion (2022 est.)
$4.246 billion (2021 est.)
$3.838 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - exports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 135

Exports - partners

China 29%, South Africa 20%, Botswana 8%, Belgium 6%, Zambia 4% (2020)

Exports - commodities

diamonds, uranium, copper, gold, fish products, aircraft, ships (2021)

Imports

$7.313 billion (2022 est.)
$6.384 billion (2021 est.)
$4.886 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - imports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 132

Imports - partners

South Africa 40%, Zambia 20%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 6%, China 5%, Bulgaria 3% (2020)

Imports - commodities

copper, refined petroleum, delivery trucks, cobalt, cars (2020)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$2.803 billion (2022 est.)
$2.764 billion (2021 est.)
$2.171 billion (2020 est.)

note: holdings of gold (year-end prices)/foreign exchange/special drawing rights in current dollars

comparison ranking: 122

Debt - external

$7.969 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$6.904 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 122

Exchange rates

Namibian dollars (NAD) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
16.356 (2022 est.)
14.779 (2021 est.)
16.463 (2020 est.)
14.449 (2019 est.)
13.234 (2018 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

population without electricity: 1 million (2020)

electrification - total population: 55.2% (2021)

electrification - urban areas: 74.7% (2021)

electrification - rural areas: 33.2% (2021)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 640,000 kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 4,065,360,000 kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 119 million kWh (2019 est.)

imports: 3.417 billion kWh (2019 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 270 million kWh (2019 est.)

comparison rankings: installed generating capacity 143; transmission/distribution losses 72; imports 47; exports 89; consumption 133

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 6.1% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 4.7% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0.5% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 88.8% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Coal

production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 38,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 59,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)

Petroleum

total petroleum production: 0 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 26,500 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 0 barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 189

Refined petroleum products - exports

80 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 120

Refined petroleum products - imports

26,270 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 105

Natural gas

production: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

consumption: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 62.297 billion cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

3.831 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 66,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 3.764 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 143

Energy consumption per capita

29.811 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 121

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 85,814 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 4 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 142

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 2,915,307 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 115 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 141

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: the government’s Broadband Policy aims to provide 95% population coverage by 2024; mobile network coverage has increased sharply in recent years; by 2023, 3G infrastructure provided 89% population coverage while LTE infrastructure provided 79% coverage; despite the relatively advanced nature of the market, progress towards 5G has been slow, partly due to unsubstantiated public concerns over health implications of the technology which caused the government to order an environmental assessment of 5G in mid-2020; the government has requested the regulator to speed up its 5G development strategy; Namibia’s internet and broadband sector is reasonably competitive, its development was for many years held back by high prices for international bandwidth caused by the lack of a direct connection to international submarine cables; this market situation improved after operators invested in diversifying terrestrial access routes to adjacent countries; in June 2022 Namibia was connected to a 1,050km branch line of cable running between Portugal and South Africa (2022)

domestic: fixed-line subscribership is 4 per 100 and mobile-cellular roughly 113 per 100 persons (2022) (2021)

international: country code - 264; landing points for the ACE and WACS fiber-optic submarine cable linking southern and western African countries to Europe; satellite earth stations - 4 Intelsat (2019)

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 users

total: 1.325 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 53% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 145

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 71,063 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 3 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 135

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 2 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 21

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 602,893 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 26.29 million (2018) mt-km

Airports

255 (2024)

comparison ranking: 26

Railways

total: 2,628 km (2014)

narrow gauge: 2,628 km (2014) 1.067-m gauge

comparison ranking: total 62

Roadways

total: 48,875 km

paved: 7,893 km

unpaved: 40,982 km (2018)

comparison ranking: total 85

Merchant marine

total: 15 (2023)

by type: general cargo 1, other 14

comparison ranking: total 152

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Luderitz, Walvis Bay

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Namibian Defense Force (NDF): Army, Navy, Air Force (2024)

note: the Namibian Police Force is under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety, and Security; it has a paramilitary Special Field Force responsible for protecting borders and government installations

Military expenditures

3% of GDP (2022 est.)
3% of GDP (2021 est.)
3.4% of GDP (2020 est.)
3.3% of GDP (2019 est.)
3.4% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 29

Military and security service personnel strengths

information varies; approximately 12,500 personnel (11,000 Army; 1,000 Navy; 500 Air Force) (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the NDF's inventory consists of a mix of Soviet-era and some more modern systems from a variety of countries, including Brazil, China, Germany, India, and South Africa; in recent years, China has been the leading supplier; Namibia has a small defense industry that produces items such as armored personnel carriers (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18-25 years of age for men and women for voluntary military service; no conscription (2023)

note: as of 2018, women comprised more than 20% of the active duty military

Military - note

the NDF’s primary responsibility is external security; it has participated in UN and regional peacekeeping and security missions and provides assistance to civil authorities as needed; it participates in multinational training exercises; the Army fields a largely mobile force centered on three small motorized infantry brigades and a reconnaissance regiment; the Navy has a Chinese-built multipurpose offshore patrol ship equipped with a helicopter landing platform and supported by several coastal patrol vessels, while the Air Force has a small inventory of aircraft, including a few Chinese-made fighters and Soviet-era attack helicopters 

the NDF was created in 1990, largely from demobilized former members of the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) and the South West Africa Territorial Force (SWATF); PLAN was the armed wing of the South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO), while SWATF was an auxiliary of the South African Defense Force and comprised the armed forces of the former South West Africa, 1977-1989; from 1990-1995, the British military assisted with the forming and training the NDF (2023)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Namibia-Angola-Botswana: 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

Namibia-Botswana-Zambia-Zimbabwe: 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; the Kazungula Bridge opened to traffic in May 2021

Namibia-South Africa: 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 claims a median line boundary, while South Africa supports the northern bank of the river

 

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 6,288 (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (refugees and asylum seekers) (2024)