macrohistory & world report

Republic of Namibia

Map of Namibia

Namibia (capital Windhoek) and neighboring states

World Factbook as of October 2014: "The economy is heavily dependent on the extraction and processing of minerals for export. Mining accounts for 11.5% 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 becoming increasingly important as the terrestrial diamond supply has dwindled. 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 and quarrying sectors employs only about 1.8% 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 59.7 GINI coefficient. The Namibian economy is closely linked to South Africa with the Namibian dollar pegged one-to-one to the South African rand."

Economic growth rate
2013: 4.4%
2012: 5%
2011: 3.6%
2010: 4.8%
2009: minus 0.7%

Labor force in agriculture
2011: 7.1%

Unemployment rate
2012: 27.4%
2008: 51.2%

Export commodities
Diamonds, copper, gold, zinc, lead, uranium; cattle, processed fish, karakul skins

Export/import ratio
2011: exports $4.568 billion, imports $5.345 billion

Income Distribution – GINI index
Ranks 6th among 141 countries. Less equal than all other countries.


Population 65 or older:

Life expectancy average (at birth)
2014: 51.85 years

Living in an urban area
2011: 38.4%
2010: 38%
2008: 37%

Density for 2005, 2.46 people per square kilometer.

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 include Herero 7%, Damara 7%, Nama 5%, Caprivian 4%, Bushmen 3%, Baster 2%, Tswana 0.5%

Christian 80% to 90% (at least 50% Lutheran), indigenous beliefs 10% to 20%

Net migration rate
2014: Net gain of 0.05 persons per 1,000 population per year.
2012: Gain of 0.15 persons per 1,000 population per year.

Literacy, Age 15 and Older
2010: males 89%, females 88.5%
2003: males 84%, females 83.7%


Southern Africa, north of South Africa, South of Angola, west of Botswana. 1572 kilometers of coastline on the South Atlantic. Lots of desert, including the Kalahari in the east. Hot and dry.


President elected by popular vote. Prime Minister appointed by the President. Bicameral legislature, members of upper body, the National Council, appointed by regional councils and members of lower body, the National Assembly, elected by popular vote to five-year terms.   

Capital: Windhoek

Recent History

A German colony, South-west Africa, until it was occupied by South Africa during World War I. South Africa annexed it following World War II. A Marxist-led guerrilla movement (SWAPO) fought for independence, which was achieved in 1990. And Namibia has been government by SWAPO since.

2001: The Herero people seek reparations in a lawsuit against Germany in a US court. They were the victims of the first genocide in the 20th century.

August 2004: Germany apologizes for its genocide and rules out monetary compensation for the victims' families.

The World Factbook

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