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Namibia at a glance
Location: Namibia is situated on Africa’s south-western seaboard. Its neighbouring countries are Angola to the north, Botswana and Zimbabwe to the east and South Africa to the south. The country is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the west.
Area: Namibia covers 824 268 square kilometres (almost four times the size of the UK and twice that of Germany) and is divided into 13 regions as determined by the delimitation commission.
Population: The total population is estimated at 2.3 million, of which ± 15% resides in the capital, Windhoek. Approximately 37% of the population lives in urban areas. Namibia is one of the three most sparsely populated countries in Africa. The average population density is 2.6 people per square kilometre.
Regions: Following independence the country was divided into 13 regions as determined by the Delimitation Commission and proclaimed in March 1992. These are Omusati, Oshana, Ohangwena and Oshikoto in the north, Kunene in the North West, Kavango and Caprivi in the north east, Erongo, Otjozondojupa, Omaheke, Khomas and Hardap in the central part of the country and Karas in the south.
Languages: English is the official language, while Oshiwambo, Afrikaans, Herero, KhoeKhoegowab, German, Lozi, Rukwangali, Tswana and various San languages are also spoken.
System of Government: Multi-party democracy with checks and balances exercised through the state organs of the executive, legislative and judiciary. General, presidential, regional and local elections are held every five years.
Religion: Namibia is a secular state but over 90% of population is Christian
Time zones: Namibia falls in the GMT + 2 time zone. The country switches to a different time zone during the winter months: winter time is set at GMT + 1 and runs from the first Sunday in April to the last Saturday in August.
Currency: In September 1993 Namibia introduced its own currency, the Namibian dollar (N$). It is linked to and on par with the South African rand (ZAR), which is also legal tender in Namibia. Most major foreign currencies and traveller’s cheques can be exchanged and international credit cards are generally accepted as a method of payment.
Capital: Windhoek serves as the administrative, judicial and legislative capital of Namibia and has a population of approximately 365,000. The capital has a moderate climate and is situated in the central highlands of the country at 1 650 m above sea level. Windhoek gained municipal status in 1909 and was proclaimed a city in 1965. It boasts a well-developed infrastructure and is regarded as a clean and well-functioning metropolis.
Business hours: Office hours are from 08:00–17:00 from Mondays to Fridays, while banks are open for business from 9:00–15:30 on weekdays and from 8:30–12:00 on Saturdays.
International telephone code: +264 + area code + number desired
Tourism: Second only to mining in terms of foreign revenue earned, tourism offers tremendous potential for growth. Different players are involved in tourism. They include investors, private owners, parastatals such as Namibia Wildlife Resorts, Government, represented by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, and communities, mainly through Community-Based Natural Resource Management programmes are involved in tourism. Tourism comes in many different guises, and the hospitality business, sightseeing, hunting, and trophy hunting all offer lucrative business opportunities.
Education: There are primary and secondary public schools in all the major towns throughout the country and several private schools in the main centres. Namibia has a number of tertiary institutions, namely the University of Namibia (UNAM), Polytechnic of Namibia, two agricultural colleges and central and regional colleges of education.
Namibian Economy - overview
The economy is heavily dependent on the extraction and processing of minerals for export. Mining accounts for 8% of GDP, but provides more than 50% of foreign exchange earnings. Rich alluvial diamond deposits make Namibia a primary source for gem-quality diamonds. Namibia is the world's fourth-largest producer of uranium. It also produces large quantities of zinc and is a small producer of gold and other minerals. The mining sector employs only about 3% of the population. 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 one of the world's most unequal income distributions, as shown by Namibia's 70.7 GINI coefficient. The Namibian economy is closely linked to South Africa with the Namibian dollar pegged one-to-one to the South African rand. Until 2010, Namibia drew 40% of its budget revenues from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). Increased payments from SACU put Namibia's budget into surplus in 2007 for the first time since independence. SACU allotments to Namibia increased in 2009, but dropped in 2010 and 2011 because of the global recession, reducing Namibia's overall SACU income. Increased fish production and mining of zinc, copper, and uranium spurred growth in 2003-08, but growth in recent years was undercut by poor fish catches, a dramatic decline in demand for diamonds, higher costs of producing metals, and the global recession. A rebound in diamond and uranium prices in 2010 and the reopening of copper mines in 2011 provided a significant boost to Namibia's mining sector.
GDP (purchasing power parity)
$15.5 billion (2011 est.)
$14.99 billion (2010 est.)
$14.28 billion (2009 est.)
note: data are in 2011 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)
$13 billion (2011 est.)
GDP - real growth rate
3.6% (2011 est.)
4.8% (2010 est.)
-0.7% (2009 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)
$7,300 (2011 est.)
$7,100 (2010 est.)
$6,800 (2009 est.)
note: data are in 2011 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector
Services: 59.5% (2011 est.)
Population below poverty line
note: the UNDP's 2005 Human Development Report indicated that 34.9% of the population live on $1 per day and 55.8% live on $2 per day (2005 est.)
803,700 (2011 est.)
Labour force - by occupation
note: statistics are for the formal sector only; 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 (2008 est.)
51.2% (2008 est.)
36.7% (2004 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24
female: 47.1% (2004)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: 1.1%
highest 10%: 53% (2008)
Distribution of family income - Gini index