CIA World Fact Book, 2004/Namibia

CIA WFB Seal.png Namibia Flag of Namibia (WFB 2004).gif
Namibia-CIA WFB Map (2004).png
Introduction 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. 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.
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: 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 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: 0.99%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 99.01% (2001)
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, 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
Population: 1,954,033
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 2004 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 42.4% (male 419,700; female 409,156)
15-64 years: 54% (male 527,553; female 528,386)
65 years and over: 3.5% (male 30,427; female 38,811) (2004 est.)
Median age: total: 18.3 years
male: 18 years
female: 18.6 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.25% (2004 est.)
Birth rate: 33.51 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate: 21.02 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 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: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 69.58 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 66.43 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
male: 72.65 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 40.53 years
male: 42.36 years
female: 38.64 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate: 4.65 children born/woman (2004 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.)
Major infectious diseases: typhoid fever, malaria, schistosomiasis
overall degree of risk: high (2004)
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: Oshivambo, Herero, Nama
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 84%
male: 84.4%
female: 83.7% (2003 est.)
Government Namibia
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Namibia
conventional short form: Namibia
former: German Southwest Africa, South-West Africa
Government type: republic
Capital: Windhoek
Administrative divisions: 13 regions; Caprivi, Erongo, Hardap, Karas, Khomas, Kunene, Ohangwena, Okavango, Omaheke, Omusati, Oshana, Oshikoto, Otjozondjupa
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 Hifikepunye POHAMBA (since November 2004)
head of government: Prime Minister Theo-Ben GURIRAB (since 28 August 2002)
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 15 November 2004 (next to be held November 2009)
election results: Hifikepunye POHAMBA elected president; percent of vote - NA%
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 15-16 November 2004 (next to be held November 2009); National Assembly - last held 15-16 November 2004 (next to be held November 2009)
note: the National Council is primarily an advisory body
election results: National Council - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - NA; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - SWAPO 55, COD 5, DTA 4, UDF 3, MAG 1, other 4
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, AU, C, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent), ITU, MIGA, NAM, ONUB, OPCW, SACU, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMEE, UNMIL, UNOCI, UPU, WCL, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO
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. 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 world's 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 great inequality of income distribution; nearly one-third of Namibians had annual incomes of less than $1,400 in constant 1994 dollars, according to a 1993 study. The Namibian economy is closely linked to South Africa with the Namibian dollar pegged to the South African rand. Privatization of several enterprises in coming years may stimulate long-run foreign investment. Mining of zinc, copper, and silver and increased fish production led growth in 2003.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $13.85 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 3.3% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $7,200 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 11.5%
industry: 29.8%
services: 58.7% (2003 est.)
Investment (gross fixed): 19.8% of GDP (2003)
Population below poverty line: 50% (2002 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 70 (2003)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 7.3% (2003)
Labor force: 760,000 (2003)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 47%, industry 20%, services 33% (1999 est.)
Unemployment rate: 35% (1998)
Budget: revenues: $1.434 billion
expenditures: $1.62 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2003)
Public debt: 35.6% of GDP (2003)
Agriculture - products: millet, sorghum, peanuts; livestock; fish
Industries: meatpacking, fish processing, dairy products; mining (diamond, lead, zinc, tin, silver, tungsten, uranium, copper)
Industrial production growth rate: NA
Electricity - production: 26.95 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - consumption: 603.1 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports: 578 million kWh; note - electricity supplied by South Africa (2001)
Oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption: 13,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports: NA (2001)
Oil - imports: NA (2001)
Oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 31.15 billion cu m (1 January 2002)
Current account balance: $123 million (2003)
Exports: $1.09 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities: diamonds, copper, gold, zinc, lead, uranium; cattle, processed fish, karakul skins
Exports - partners: EU 79%, US 4% (2001)
Imports: $1.371 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities: foodstuffs; petroleum products and fuel, machinery and equipment, chemicals
Imports - partners: US 50%, EU 31% (2001)
Reserves of foreign exchange & gold: $325.2 million (2003)
Debt - external: $1.04 billion (2003 est.)
Economic aid - recipient: ODA $160 million (2000 est.)
Currency: Namibian dollar (NAD); South African rand (ZAR)
Currency code: NAD; ZAR
Exchange rates: Namibian dollars per US dollar - 7.5648 (2003), 10.5407 (2002), 8.6092 (2001), 6.9398 (2000), 6.1095 (1999)
Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March
Communications Namibia
Telephones - main lines in use: 127,400 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 223,700 (2003)
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)
Radios: 232,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 8 (plus about 20 low-power repeaters) (1997)
Televisions: 60,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .na
Internet hosts: 3,164 (2003)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 2 (2000)
Internet users: 65,000 (2003)
Transportation Namibia
Railways: total: 2,382 km
narrow gauge: 2,382 km 1.067-m gauge (2003)
Highways: total: 66,467 km
paved: 9,172 km
unpaved: 57,285 km (2000)
Ports and harbors: Luderitz, Walvis Bay
Merchant marine: none (2004 est.)
Airports: 136 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 21
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 13
914 to 1,523 m: 4 (2004 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 115
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 22
914 to 1,523 m: 71
under 914 m: 20 (2004 est.)
Military Namibia
Military branches: Namibian Defense Force: Army (including Naval Wing, Air Wing), Police
Military manpower - military age and obligation: 18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 468,934 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 279,755 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure: $111.6 million (2003)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 2.5% (2003)
This page was last updated on 1 January 2003

This is a snapshot of the CIA World Fact Book as it existed on 26 March 2005