On the edge of the Kalahari Desert, sand dunes are encroaching onto once-fertile lands in the north. Healthy vegetation appears red in this false color satellite image; in the center, notice the lone red dot. It is the result of a center-pivot irrigation system, evidence that at least one optimistic farmer continues to work the fields despite the approaching sand. Image courtesy of USGS.
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Introduction

Background

Various ethnic groups occupied south western 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. Namibia gained independence in 1990.

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

country comparison to the world: 40

Area - comparative

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

<p>almost seven times the size of Pennsylvania; slightly more than half the size of Alaska</p>

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

Map description

Namibia map showing major population centers as well as parts of surrounding countries and the South Atlantic Ocean.

People and Society

Population

2,727,409 (2022 est.)

note: estimates for this country explicitly taken into account the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic

country comparison to the world: 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 .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 – 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: 35.68% (male 473,937/female 464,453)

15-24 years: 20.27% (male 267,106/female 265,882)

25-54 years: 35.47% (male 449,132/female 483,811)

55-64 years: 4.68% (male 54,589/female 68,619)

65 years and over: 3.9% (2020 est.) (male 43,596/female 58,948)

This is the population pyramid for Namibia. A population pyramid illustrates the age and sex structure of a country's population and may provide insights about political and social stability, as well as economic development. The population is distributed along the horizontal axis, with males shown on the left and females on the right. The male and female populations are broken down into 5-year age groups represented as horizontal bars along the vertical axis, with the youngest age groups at the bottom and the oldest at the top. The shape of the population pyramid gradually evolves over time based on fertility, mortality, and international migration trends. <br/><br/>For additional information, please see the entry for Population pyramid on the Definitions and Notes page.

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 67.9

youth dependency ratio: 61.8

elderly dependency ratio: 6

potential support ratio: 16.6 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 21.8 years

male: 21.1 years

female: 22.6 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 183

Birth rate

25.01 births/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 45

Death rate

6.85 deaths/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 124

Net migration rate

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 94

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% of total population (2022)

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

Major urban areas - population

461,000 WINDHOEK (capital) (2022)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

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

15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.93 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.79 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.61 male(s)/female

total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2022 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

21.6 years (2013 est.)

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

Maternal mortality ratio

195 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 48

Infant mortality rate

total: 29.42 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 31.48 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 27.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 55

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 66.47 years

male: 64.46 years

female: 68.53 years (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 196

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.)

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 (2020)

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

vectorborne diseases: malaria

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

Tobacco use

total: 15.1% (2020 est.)

male: 24.2% (2020 est.)

female: 6% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 103

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 91.5%

male: 91.6%

female: 91.4% (2018)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 38%

male: 37.5%

female: 38.5% (2018 est.)

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

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 22.59 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 4.23 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 10.4 megatons (2020 est.)

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% of total population (2022)

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

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 141

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: high (2020)

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

vectorborne diseases: malaria

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

Food insecurity

severe localized food insecurity: due to localized shortfalls in cereal production - an estimated 750,000 people are projected to face "Crisis" levels of food insecurity between December 2021 and March 2022, as a result of localized areas that suffered from poor harvests in 2021 and the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, primarily through income and job losses that constrained households’ access to food (2022)

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: 73 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 14 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 201 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

39.91 billion cubic meters (2017 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: initiated by the Cabinet; passage requires two-thirds 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: President Hage GEINGOB (since 21 March 2015); Vice President Nangola MBUMBA (since 8 February 2018); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Hage GEINGOB (since 21 March 2015); Vice President Nangola MBUMBA (since 8 February 2018); 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 28 November 2019 (next to be held in 2024)

election results: Hage GEINGOB elected president in the first round; percent of vote - Hage GEINGOB (SWAPO) 56.3%, Panduleni ITULA (Independent) 29.4%, McHenry VENAANI (PDM) 5.3%, Bernadus SWARTBOOI (LPM) 2.7%, Apius AUCHAB (UDF) 2.7%, Esther MUINJANGUE (NUDO) 1.5%, 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 - men 36, women 6, percent of women 16.6%
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 - NA

Judicial branch

highest courts: 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 [Vacant]
Christian Democratic Voice or CDV [Gothard KANDUME]
Landless People's Movement or LPM [Bernadus SWARTBOOI]
National Unity Democratic Organization or NUDO [Estes MUINJANGUE]
Namibian Economic Freedom Fighters or NEFF [Epafras MUKWIILONGO]
Popular Democratic Movement or PDM (formerly DTA) [McHenry VENAANI]
Rally for Democracy and Progress or RDP [Mike KAVEKOTORA]
Republican Party or RP [Henk MUDGE]
South West Africa National Union or SWANU [Tangeni IIYAMBO]
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, 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 (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Jessica LONG (since 2 July 2021)

embassy: 14 Lossen Street, Windhoek

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

telephone: [264] (061) 295-8500

FAX: [264] (061) 295-8603

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

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.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$22.6 billion (2020 est.)

$24.56 billion (2019 est.)

$24.71 billion (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 148

Real GDP growth rate

-1.56% (2019 est.)

1.13% (2018 est.)

-1.02% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 202

Real GDP per capita

$8,900 (2020 est.)

$9,800 (2019 est.)

$10,100 (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 145

GDP (official exchange rate)

$12.372 billion (2019 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

3.7% (2019 est.)

4.2% (2018 est.)

6.1% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 161

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: BB (2019)

Moody's rating: Ba3 (2020)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 6.7% (2016 est.)

industry: 26.3% (2016 est.)

services: 67% (2017 est.)

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

roots/tubers nes, milk, maize, onions, beef, grapes, fruit, pulses nes, vegetables, millet

Industries

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

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 31%

industry: 14%

services: 54% (2013 est.)

note: about half of Namibia's people are unemployed while about two-thirds live in rural areas; roughly two-thirds of rural dwellers rely on subsistence agriculture

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 38%

male: 37.5%

female: 38.5% (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 18

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.4%

highest 10%: 42% (2010)

Budget

revenues: 4.268 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 5 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

41.3% of GDP (2017 est.)

39.5% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 121

Fiscal year

1 April - 31 March

Current account balance

-$216 million (2019 est.)

-$465 million (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 101

Exports

$3.56 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$4.56 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$4.95 billion (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

country comparison to the world: 139

Exports - partners

China 27%, South Africa 18%, Botswana 8%, Belgium 7% (2019)

Exports - commodities

copper, diamonds, uranium, thorium, gold, radioactive chemicals, fish (2019)

Imports

$4.54 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$5.77 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$6.33 billion (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

country comparison to the world: 144

Imports - partners

South Africa 47%, Zambia 16% (2019)

Imports - commodities

copper, refined petroleum, delivery trucks, diamonds, cars (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$2.432 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$1.834 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 115

Debt - external

$7.969 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$6.904 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 123

Exchange rates

Namibian dollars (NAD) per US dollar -

13.67 (2017 est.)

14.7096 (2016 est.)

14.7096 (2015 est.)

12.7589 (2014 est.)

10.8526 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 57% (2019)

electrification - urban areas: 78% (2019)

electrification - rural areas: 36% (2019)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 140,370 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 6 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 127

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 2,898,125 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 114 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 140

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: good competition in mobile market and investment in LTE government program to provide 95% of population with broadband by 2024; 5G delayed due to public concerns of privacy and security; high prices for international bandwidth due to lack of submarine cables, yet improved by diversification of satellite access (2020)

domestic: fixed-line subscribership is less than 6 per 100 and mobile-cellular roughly 102 per 100 persons (2020)

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)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation was postponed or slowed in some countries; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments

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: 1,041,776 (2020 est.)

percent of population: 41% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 146

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 71,063 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 3 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 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 - with paved runways

total: 19

over 3,047 m: 4

2,438 to 3,047 m: 2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 12

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2021)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 93

1,524 to 2,437 m: 25

914 to 1,523 m: 52

under 914 m: 16 (2021)

Railways

total: 2,628 km (2014)

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

country comparison to the world: 66

Roadways

total: 48,875 km (2018)

paved: 7,893 km (2018)

unpaved: 40,982 km (2018)

country comparison to the world: 83

Merchant marine

total: 14

by type: general cargo 1, other 13 (2021)

country comparison to the world: 151

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Luderitz, Walvis Bay

Military and Security

Military and security forces

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

Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety, and Security: Namibian Police Force (includes a paramilitary Special Field Force responsible for protecting borders and government installations) (2022)

Military expenditures

3% of GDP (2021 est.)

3.4% of GDP (2020 est.)

3.3% of GDP (2019) (approximately $620 million)

3.4% of GDP (2018) (approximately $640 million)

3.6% of GDP (2017) (approximately $670 million)

country comparison to the world: 33

Military and security service personnel strengths

information varies; approximately 12,500 personnel (11,000 Army; 1,000 Navy; 500 Air Force) (2021)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the inventory of the Namibian Defense Force consists mostly of Soviet-era equipment; China is the leading supplier of weapons to Namibia since 2010 (2021)

Military service age and obligation

18-25 years of age for voluntary military service (men and women); no conscription (2021)

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

Military - note

the Namibian Defense Force (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

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): 5,883 (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (refugees and asylum seekers) (2022)