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Brief History

The name of the country is derived from the Namib Desert, considered to be the oldest desert in the world. 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. Uprisings and demands by African leaders led the United Nations to assume direct responsibility over the territory, and recognizing South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) as official representative of the Namibian people in 1973. Namibia obtained full independence from South Africa in 1990. 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. POHAMBA was reelected in November 2009.


Namibia, capital Windhoek, is a country in southern Africa covering an area of 824,292 square kilometers. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana and Zimbabwe to the east, and South Africa to the south and east. The major towns, other than its capital city, are Tsumeb, Keetmanshoop and the ports of Luderitz Bay and Walvis Bay. Namibia's climate is the driest in Africa, with sunny, warm days and cooler nights, especially during the winter months. The cold, north-flowing Benguela current of the Atlantic Ocean accounts for some of the low precipitation. Much of Namibia is a land of perennial drought. The annual rainfall, which is concentrated in the November–March period, usually occurs in the central plateau. But the rains often fail where some regions have gone nearly a century without a drop of rain. It is rich in natural resources such as diamonds, copper, uranium, gold, silver, lead, tin, lithium, cadmium, tungsten, zinc, salt, hydropower, and fish. There are suspected deposits of oil, coal, and iron ore.


Namibia has the second-lowest population density of any sovereign country, after Mongolia. It has a population of 2,128,471 (2010) of which the majority is black African — mostly of the Ovambo ethnicity, other ethnic groups are the Herero and Himba people, who speak a similar language. Whites of Portuguese, Dutch, German, British and French ancestry, who make up about 7% of the population, form the second-largest population of European ancestry. While the official language is English, most of the white population speaks either German or Afrikaans. The literacy rate is 85% and it has an unemployment rate may have climbed up to 51.2%. The Christian community makes up at least 80% of the population of Namibia. At least 10% of the population holds indigenous beliefs and Islam accounts for 3% of the population.


Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia, is subject to a stable multi-party parliamentary democracy where the president is elected to a five-year term and is both the head of state and the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Its legal system is based on Roman-Dutch law and 1990 constitution and it has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the bicameral Parliament, the National Assembly and the National Council. In 2008, Namibia ranked 6th on the Ibrahim Index of African Governance, out of 48 sub-Saharan African countries. Namibia held elections on 27 November 2009 and elected Hifikepunye Pohamba as Prsedient. Its Prime Minister is Nahas Angula. Namibia’s official currency is the Namibian Dollar (NAD) where US$1 is equivalent to N$ 7.65.


The Namibian economy is one of moderate performance and growth (which has kept pace with regional trends). Its GDP per capita is US$6,400 with an economy that is heavily dependent on the earnings generated from primary commodity exports in a few vital sectors, including minerals, especially diamonds, livestock, and fish. 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. 

Mining, which employs around 3% of the population and accounts for 8% of GDP, provides more than 50% of foreign exchange earnings. Rich alluvial diamond deposits make Namibia a primary source for gem-quality diamonds. Within the mining sector of the economy, lead, zinc, tin, silver and tungsten are also extracted.

Agriculture contributes 10% of the country’s GDP and consists mainly of cattle and sheep-raising. The country’s fishing grounds are some of the world’s richest and fish processing is one of the country’s main industrial activities. About 3% of the population while about 35-40% of the population depends on subsistence agriculture for its livelihood. In drought years food shortages are a major problem in rural areas.

The Namibian economy is closely linked to South Africa with the Namibian dollar pegged one-to-one to the South African rand. Given its small domestic market but favorable location and a superb transport and communications base, Namibia is a leading advocate of regional economic integration. In addition to its membership in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Namibia presently belongs to the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) with South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Within SACU, no tariffs exist on goods produced in and moving among the member countries. Namibia is also a member of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and has acceded to the European Union's Lomé Convention.

The inflation rate is 8.8% (2009) with a Gross National Income per capita of US$4,200.27 (2010).

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