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.
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
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 (July 2009 est.)
bicameral legislature consists of the National Council (26 seats; two members are chosen from each regional council to serve six-year terms) and the National Assembly (72 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
National Council - elections for regional councils to determine members of the National Council held 29-30 November 2004 (next to be held in November 2010); National Assembly - last held 15-16 November 2004 (next to be held in November 2009)
National Council - percent of vote by party - SWAPO 89.7%, UDF 4.7%, NUDO 2.8%, DTA 1.9%, other 0.9%; seats by party - SWAPO 24, UDF 1, DTA 1; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - SWAPO 76.1%, COD 7.3%, DTA 5.1%, NUDO 4.2%, UDF 3.6%, RP 1.9%, MAG 0.8%, other 1.0%; seats by party - SWAPO 55, COD 5, DTA 4, NUDO 3, UDF 3, RP 1, MAG 1
note:the National Council is primarily an advisory body
All People's Party or APP [Ignatius SHIXWAMENI]; Congress of Democrats or COD [Ben 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 [Henk 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]
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
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 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. The mining sector employs only about 3% of the population while about half 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. The Namibian economy is closely linked to South Africa with the Namibian dollar pegged one-to-one to the South African rand. Increased payments from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) put Namibia's budget into surplus in 2007 for the first time since independence, but SACU payments will decline after 2008 as part of a new revenue sharing formula. Increased fish production and mining of zinc, copper, uranium, and silver spurred growth in 2003-07, but growth in recent years was undercut by poor fish catches and high costs for metal inputs.
general assessment: good system with a combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity of about 55 per 100 persons
core fiber-optic network links most centers and connections are now digital; Namibia's first mobile-cellular network, launched in 1994, provides coverage to 86 percent of Namibia by area
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)
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