Namibia

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 10, 2011
Flag of Namibia
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Location of Namibia
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Map of Namibia
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OF NAMIBIA
 

Introduction

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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 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 has been governed by SWAPO since the country won independence 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.
 
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Geography

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Southern Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Angola and South Africa
 
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22 00 S, 17 00 E
 
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total: 824,292 sq km
country comparison to the world: 34
land: 823,290 sq km
water: 1,002 sq km
 
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slightly more than half the size of Alaska
 
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total: 3,936 km
border countries: Angola 1,376 km, Botswana 1,360 km, South Africa 967 km, Zambia 233 km
 
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1,572 km
 
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territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
 
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desert; hot, dry; rainfall sparse and erratic
 
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mostly high plateau; Namib Desert along coast; Kalahari Desert in east
 
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lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Konigstein 2,606 m
 
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diamonds, copper, uranium, gold, silver, lead, tin, lithium, cadmium, tungsten, zinc, salt, hydropower, fish
note: suspected deposits of oil, coal, and iron ore
 
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arable land: 0.99%
permanent crops: 0.01%
other: 99% (2005)
 
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80 sq km (2008)
 
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45.5 cu km (1991)
 
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total: 0.3 cu km/yr (24%/5%/71%)
per capita: 148 cu m/yr (2000)
 
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prolonged periods of drought
 
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limited natural freshwater resources; desertification; wildlife poaching; land degradation has led to few conservation areas
 
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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
 
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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
 
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People and Society

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noun: Namibian(s)
adjective: Namibian
 
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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%
 
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English (official) 7%, Afrikaans (common language of most of the population and about 60% of the white population), German 32%, indigenous languages (includes Oshivambo, Herero, Nama) 1%
 
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Christian 80% to 90% (at least 50% Lutheran), indigenous beliefs 10% to 20%
 
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2,147,585 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 143
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
 
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0-14 years: 34.2% (male 371,078/female 364,232)
15-64 years: 61.7% (male 671,853/female 652,414)
65 years and over: 4.1% (male 38,851/female 49,157) (2011 est.)
 
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total: 21.7 years
male: 21.7 years
female: 21.8 years (2011 est.)
 
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0.873% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 128
 
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21.48 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79
 
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12.95 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 24
 
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0.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 69
 
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urban population: 38% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 3.3% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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WINDHOEK (capital) 342,000 (2009)
 
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at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
 
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180 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)
country comparison to the world: 61
 
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total: 45.59 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 54
male: 48.86 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 42.21 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 52.19 years
country comparison to the world: 209
male: 52.48 years
female: 51.89 years (2011 est.)
 
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2.49 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 84
 
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5.9% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 109
 
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0.374 physicians/1,000 population (2007)
country comparison to the world: 132
 
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2.67 beds/1,000 population (2009)
country comparison to the world: 84
 
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improved:
urban: 99% of population
rural: 88% of population
total: 92% of population
unimproved:
urban: 1% of population
rural: 12% of population
total: 8% of population (2008)
 
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improved:
urban: 60% of population
rural: 17% of population
total: 33% of population
unimproved:
urban: 40% of population
rural: 83% of population
total: 67% of population (2008)
 
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13.1% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
 
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180,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 28
 
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6,700 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 32
 
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degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria
water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2009)
 
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17.5% (2007)
country comparison to the world: 43
 
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6.4% of GDP (2008)
country comparison to the world: 23
 
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 85%
male: 86.8%
female: 83.5% (2001 census)
 
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total: 12 years
male: 12 years
female: 12 years (2008)
 
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total: 41.7%
country comparison to the world: 7
male: 36.7%
female: 47.1% (2004)
 
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Government

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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 (Sued-West Afrika), South-West Africa
 
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republic
 
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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
 
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13 regions; Caprivi, Erongo, Hardap, Karas, Khomas, Kunene, Ohangwena, Okavango, Omaheke, Omusati, Oshana, Oshikoto, Otjozondjupa
 
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21 March 1990 (from South African mandate)
 
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Independence Day, 21 March (1990)
 
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ratified 9 February 1990, effective 12 March 1990
 
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mixed legal system of uncodified civil law based on Roman-Dutch law and customary law
 
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has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
 
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18 years of age; universal
 
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chief of state: President Hifikepunye POHAMBA (since 21 March 2005)
head of government: Prime Minister Nahas ANGULA (since 21 March 2005)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president from among the members of the National Assembly
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 27-28 November 2009 (next to be held in 2014)
election results: Hifikepunye POHAMBA reelected president; percent of vote - Hifikepunye POHAMBA 76.4%, Hidipo HAMUTENYA 11.0%, Katuutire KAURA 3.0%, Kuaima RIRUAKO 2.9%, Justus GAROEB 2.4%, Ignatius SHIXWAMENI 1.3%, Hendrick MUDGE 1.2%, other 1.8%
 
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bicameral legislature consists of the National Council, primarily an advisory body (26 seats; two members chosen from each regional council to serve six-year terms), and the National Assembly (72 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: National Council - elections for regional councils to determine members of the National Council held on 26-27 November 2010 (next to be held in 2016); National Assembly - last held on 26-27 November 2009 (next to be held in November 2014)
election results: National Council - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - SWAPO 24, UDF 1, DTA 1; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - SWAPO 75.3%, RDP 11.3%, DTA 3.1%, NUDO 3.0%, UDF 2.4%, APP 1.4%, RP 0.8%, COD 0.7%, SWANU 0.6%, other 1.3%; seats by party - SWAPO 54, RDP 8, DTA 2, NUDO 2, UDF 2, APP 1, COD 1, RP 1, SWANU 1
 
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Supreme Court (judges appointed by the president on the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission)
 
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All People's Party or APP [Ignatius SHIXWAMENI]; Congress of Democrats or COD [Benjamin ULENGA]; Democratic Turnhalle Alliance of Namibia or DTA [Katuutire KAURA]; Monitor Action Group or MAG [Jurie VILJOEN]; National Democratic Movement for Change or NamDMC; National Unity Democratic Organization or NUDO [Kuaima RIRUAKO]; Rally for Democracy and Progress or RDP [Hidipo HAMUTENYA]; Republican Party or RP [Hendrick MUDGE]; South West Africa National Union or SWANU [Usutuaije MAAMBERUA]; South West Africa People's Organization or SWAPO [Hifikepunye POHAMBA]; United Democratic Front or UDF [Justus GAROEB]
 
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National Society for Human Rights or NSHR (NAMRIGHTS as of 2010); various labor unions
 
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ACP, AfDB, AU, C, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OPCW, SACU, SADC, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNISFA, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Martin ANDJABA
chancery: 1605 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 986-0540
FAX: [1] (202) 986-0443
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Wanda L. NESBITT
embassy: 14 Lossen Street, Windhoek
mailing address: Private Bag 12029 Ausspannplatz, Windhoek
telephone: [264] (61) 295-8500
FAX: [264] (61) 295-8603
 
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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 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 yellow sun denotes power and existence; green symbolizes vegetation and agricultural resources
 
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name: "Namibia, Land of the Brave"
lyrics/music: Axali DOESEB
note: adopted 1991
 
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Economy

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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 while about 35-40% 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 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 will drop for 2010 and 2011 because South Africa went into recession during the global economic crisis, reducing 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 provided a significant boost to Namibia's mining sector. Copper mines, which closed in 2008, are slated to reopen in 2011.
 
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$14.6 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138
$13.98 billion (2009 est.)
$14.1 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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$11.87 billion (2010 est.)
 
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4.4% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 86
-0.8% (2009 est.)
4.3% (2008 est.)
 
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$6,900 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132
$6,600 (2009 est.)
$6,700 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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agriculture: 7.3%
industry: 34.3%
services: 58.4% (2010 est.)
 
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789,100 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 146
 
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agriculture: 16.3%
industry: 22.4%
services: 61.3%
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.)
 
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51.2% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 193
36.7% (2004 est.)
 
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55.8%
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.)
 
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lowest 10%: 1.1%
highest 10%: 53% (2008)
 
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70.7 (2003)
country comparison to the world: 1
 
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22.3% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 85
 
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revenues: $3.103 billion
expenditures: $3.874 billion (2010 est.)
 
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26.2% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 116
 
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-6.5% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 171
 
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20.1% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 109
14.8% of GDP (2009 est.)
 
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4.5% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 142
8.8% (2009 est.)
 
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12% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 48
7% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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9.72% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 94
11.12% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$3.653 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 102
$2.839 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$8.078 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 109
$6.595 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$6.553 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 105
$4.726 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$1.176 billion (31 December 2010)
country comparison to the world: 105
$846.3 million (31 December 2009)
$618.7 million (31 December 2008)
 
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millet, sorghum, peanuts, grapes; livestock; fish
 
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meatpacking, fish processing, dairy products; mining (diamonds, lead, zinc, tin, silver, tungsten, uranium, copper)
 
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6.5% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 63
 
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2.197 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132
 
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3.928 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 119
 
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47 million kWh (2008 est.)
 
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2.1 billion kWh (2008 est.)
 
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0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 185
 
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24,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 123
 
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0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 199
 
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19,890 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112
 
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0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 207
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 206
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 210
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 204
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 145
 
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62.29 billion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 62
 
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$11.35 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 62
-$160.9 million (2009 est.)
 
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$4.115 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 117
$3.535 billion (2009 est.)
 
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diamonds, copper, gold, zinc, lead, uranium; cattle, processed fish, karakul skins
 
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$4.904 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 116
$4.519 billion (2009 est.)
 
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foodstuffs; petroleum products and fuel, machinery and equipment, chemicals
 
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$1.495 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 127
$1.846 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$3.101 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 128
$2.199 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$NA
 
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$NA
 
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Namibian dollars (NAD) per US dollar -
7.57 (2010)
8.42 (2009)
7.75 (2008)
7.18 (2007)
6.7649 (2006)
 
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Communications

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152,000 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 134
 
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1.535 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 144
 
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general assessment: good system; core fiber-optic network links most centers and connections are now digital
domestic: multiple mobile-cellular providers with a combined subscribership of nearly 60 telephones per 100 persons; combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity about 65 per 100 persons
international: country code - 264; fiber-optic cable to South Africa, microwave radio relay link to Botswana, direct links to other neighboring countries; connected to the South African Far East (SAFE) submarine cable through South Africa; satellite earth stations - 4 Intelsat (2008)
 
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1 private and 1 state-run television station; satellite and cable TV service is available; state-run radio service broadcasts in multiple languages; about a dozen private radio stations operating; transmissions of multiple international broadcasters are available (2007)
 
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.na
 
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76,020 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 80
 
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127,500 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 151
 
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Transportation

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129 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 45
 
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total: 21
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 13
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2010)
 
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total: 108
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 25
914 to 1,523 m: 71
under 914 m: 11 (2010)
 
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total: 2,626 km
country comparison to the world: 62
narrow gauge: 2,626 km 1.067-m gauge (2010)
 
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total: 64,189 km
country comparison to the world: 71
paved: 5,477 km
unpaved: 58,712 km (2010)
 
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total: 1
country comparison to the world: 158
by type: cargo 1 (2010)
 
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Luderitz, Walvis Bay
 
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Military

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Namibian Defense Force (NDF): Army, Navy, Air Force (2010)
 
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18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2010)
 
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males age 16-49: 568,231 (2010 est.)
 
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males age 16-49: 351,431
females age 16-49: 311,513 (2010 est.)
 
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male: 26,413
female: 26,038 (2010 est.)
 
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3.7% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 31
 
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Transnational Issues

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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; managed dispute with South Africa over the location of the boundary in 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
 
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refugees (country of origin): 4,700 (Angola) (2007)
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