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Namibia :: Africa



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.



Southern Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Angola and South Africa

Geographic coordinates:

22 00 S, 17 00 E

Map references:



total: 824,292 sq km
land: 823,290 sq km
water: 1,002 sq km
country comparison to the world: 35

Area - comparative:

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

Land boundaries:

total: 4,220 km
border countries (4): Angola 1427 km, Botswana 1544 km, South Africa 1005 km, Zambia 244 km


1,572 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm


desert; hot, dry; rainfall sparse and erratic


mostly high plateau; Namib Desert along coast; Kalahari Desert in east


mean elevation: 1,141 m
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Konigstein on Brandberg 2,573 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% (2011 est.)
arable land: 1% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 0% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 46.2% (2011 est.)
forest: 8.8% (2011 est.)
other: 44% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land:

80 sq km (2012)

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

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, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

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

People and Society


2,630,073 (July 2020 est.)
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, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected
country comparison to the world: 142


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%


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 .7%, other 1% (2016 est.)
note: Namibia has 13 recognized national languages, including 10 indigenous African languages and 3 European languages


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

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% (male 43,596/female 58,948) (2020 est.)

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

Population growth rate:

1.86% (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 54

Birth rate:

25.7 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 47

Death rate:

7.3 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 115

Net migration rate:

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 91

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


urban population: 52% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: 4.2% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major urban areas - population:

431,000 WINDHOEK (capital) (2020)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.8 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.74 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth:

21.5 years (2013 est.)
note: median age at first birth among women 25-29

Maternal mortality rate:

195 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 48

Infant mortality rate:

total: 31.4 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 33.5 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 29.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 51

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 65.3 years
male: 63.3 years
female: 67.3 years (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 195

Total fertility rate:

3.07 children born/woman (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 48

Contraceptive prevalence rate:

56.1% (2013)

Drinking water source:

improved: urban: 98.9% of population
rural: 80.8% of population
total: 89.7% of population
unimproved: urban: 1.1% of population
rural: 19.2% of population
total: 10.3% of population (2017 est.)

Current Health Expenditure:

8.6% (2017)

Physicians density:

0.59 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Hospital bed density:

2.7 beds/1,000 population (2009)

Sanitation facility access:

improved: urban: 72.9% of population
rural: 22% of population
total: 46.9% of population
unimproved: urban: 27.1% of population
rural: 78% of population
total: 53.1% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

12.7% (2019 est.)
country comparison to the world: 6

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

210,000 (2019 est.)
country comparison to the world: 28

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

3,000 (2019 est.)
country comparison to the world: 35

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

Obesity - adult prevalence rate:

17.2% (2016)
country comparison to the world: 119

Children under the age of 5 years underweight:

13.2% (2013)
country comparison to the world: 47

Education expenditures:

3.1% of GDP (2014)
country comparison to the world: 131


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% (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 16


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


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


21 March 1990 (from South African mandate)

National holiday:

Independence Day, 21 March (1990)


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 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


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 27 November 2015 (next to be held on 27 November 2020) ++ 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 40, NUDO 1, DPM 1; composition - men 32, women 10, percent of women 23.8% ++ 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 [Ignatius SHIXWAMENI] ++ 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] ++ Workers' Revolutionary Party or WRP (formerly CPN) [MPs Salmon FLEERMUYS and Benson KAAPALA]

International organization participation:


Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Charge d'Affaires Jerome Mutamba MUTAMBA (since 3 August 2020)
chancery: 1605 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 986-0540
FAX: [1] (202) 986-0443

Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Lisa A. JOHNSON (since 3 February 2018)
telephone: [264] (061) 295-8500
embassy: 14 Lossen Street, Windhoek
mailing address: Private Bag 12029 Ausspannplatz, Windhoek
FAX: [264] (061) 295-8603

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


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.

GDP real growth rate:

-1.56% (2019 est.)
1.13% (2018 est.)
-1.02% (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 203

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

3.7% (2019 est.)
4.2% (2018 est.)
6.1% (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 162

Credit ratings:

Fitch rating: BB (2019)
Moody's rating: Ba3 (2020)

GDP (purchasing power parity) - real:

$30.89 billion (2019 est.)
$31.408 billion (2018 est.)
$31.068 billion (2017 est.)
note: data are in 2010 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$12.372 billion (2019 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$7,873 (2019 est.)
$8,157 (2018 est.)
$8,222 (2017 est.)
note: data are in 2010 dollars
country comparison to the world: 130

Gross national saving:

16.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
9.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
19.1% of GDP (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 125

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.)

Ease of Doing Business Index scores:

72.2 (2020)

Agriculture - products:

millet, sorghum, peanuts, grapes; livestock; fish


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

Industrial production growth rate:

-0.4% (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 171

Labor force:

956,800 (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 140

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 rate:

34% (2016 est.)
28.1% (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 211

Population below poverty line:

28.7% (2010 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 2.4%
highest 10%: 42% (2010)


revenues: 4.268 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 5 billion (2017 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:

32.2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 68

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):

-5.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 173

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


$6.087 billion (2019 est.)
$6.225 billion (2018 est.)
$5.347 billion (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 111

Exports - partners:

South Africa 27.1%, Botswana 14.9%, Switzerland 12%, Zambia 5.7%, China 4.6%, Italy 4.4% (2017)

Exports - commodities:

diamonds, copper, gold, zinc, lead, uranium; cattle, white fish and mollusks


$9.921 billion (2019 est.)
$9.611 billion (2018 est.)
$9.249 billion (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 110

Imports - commodities:

foodstuffs; petroleum products and fuel, machinery and equipment, chemicals

Imports - partners:

South Africa 61.4% (2017)

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.)


Electricity access:

population without electricity: 1 million (2019)
electrification - total population: 57% (2019)
electrification - urban areas: 78% (2019)
electrification - rural areas: 36% (2019)

Electricity - production:

1.403 billion kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 145

Electricity - consumption:

3.891 billion kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 128

Electricity - exports:

88 million kWh (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 83

Electricity - imports:

3.073 billion kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 50

Electricity - installed generating capacity:

535,500 kW (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 146

Electricity - from fossil fuels:

28% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 186

Electricity - from nuclear fuels:

0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 150

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:

64% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 26

Electricity - from other renewable sources:

8% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 89

Crude oil - production:

0 bbl/day (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 179

Crude oil - exports:

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 171

Crude oil - imports:

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 172

Crude oil - proved reserves:

0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 174

Refined petroleum products - production:

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 183

Refined petroleum products - consumption:

27,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 125

Refined petroleum products - exports:

80 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 120

Refined petroleum products - imports:

26,270 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 105

Natural gas - production:

0 cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 175

Natural gas - consumption:

0 cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 179

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 157

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 162

Natural gas - proved reserves:

62.29 billion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 60

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:

3.958 million Mt (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 139


Telephones - fixed lines:

total subscriptions: 144,575
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 5.6 (2019 est.)
country comparison to the world: 126

Telephones - mobile cellular:

total subscriptions: 2,921,697
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 113.17 (2019 est.)
country comparison to the world: 142

Telecommunication systems:

general assessment: fixed-line still a govt. monopoly; penetration rates rise above regional average with the rise of competition in the mobile market; 3G and LTE-A services; Internet and broadband sector fairly competitive; infrastructure investment through 2021; working on implementing 5G (2020)
domestic: fixed-line subscribership is 6 per 100 and mobile-cellular 113 per 100 persons (2019)
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 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated

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 country code:


Internet users:

total: 1,291,944
percent of population: 51% (July 2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 134

Broadband - fixed subscriptions:

total: 61,968
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 2 (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 131


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 mt-km (2018)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix:

V5 (2016)


112 (2013)
country comparison to the world: 51

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 19 (2017)
over 3,047 m: 4 (2017)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2 (2017)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 12 (2017)
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2017)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 93 (2013)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 25 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 52 (2013)
under 914 m: 16 (2013)


total: 2,628 km (2014)
narrow gauge: 2,628 km 1.067-m gauge (2014)
country comparison to the world: 65


total: 48,875 km (2018)
paved: 7,893 km (2018)
unpaved: 40,982 km (2018)
country comparison to the world: 83

Merchant marine:

total: 12
by type: general cargo 1, other 11 (2019)
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; Namibian Police Force: Special Field Force (paramilitary unit responsible for protecting borders and government installations) (2019)

Military expenditures:

3% of GDP (2019)
3.4% of GDP (2018)
3.6% of GDP (2017)
3.9% of GDP (2016)
4.5% of GDP (2015)
country comparison to the world: 27

Military and security service personnel strengths:

size assessments for the Namibian Defense Force (NDF) vary; approximately 13,000 personnel (11,000 Army; 1,000 Navy; 700 Air Force) (2019 est.)

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 (2019 est.)

Military service age and obligation:

18-25 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2019)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international:

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; 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 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

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

refugees (country of origin): 6,595 (Democratic Republic of Congo) (2020)

Trafficking in persons:

current situation: Namibia is a country of origin and destination for children and, to a lesser extent, women subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; victims, lured by promises of legitimate jobs, are forced to work in urban centers and on commercial farms; traffickers exploit Namibian children, as well as children from Angola, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, for forced labor in agriculture, cattle herding, domestic service, fishing, and street vending; children are also forced into prostitution, often catering to tourists from southern Africa and Europe; San and Zemba children are particularly vulnerable; foreign adults and Namibian adults and children are reportedly subjected to forced labor in Chinese-owned retail, construction, and fishing operations
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Namibia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; Namibia was granted a waiver from an otherwise required downgrade to Tier 3 because its government has a written plan that, if implemented would constitute making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; in 2015, the Child Care and Protection Bill passed, criminalizing child trafficking; the government's first sex trafficking prosecution remained pending; no new prosecutions were initiated and no trafficking offenders have ever been convicted; accusations of forced labor at Chinese construction and mining companies continue to go uninvestigated; authorities failed to fully implement victim identification and referral processes, which led to the deportation of possible victims (2015)