namibia_flag 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 was soon named 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.



Location: Southern Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Angola and South Africa
Geographic coordinates: 22 00 S, 17 00 E
Map references: Africa
Area: total: 825,418 sq km

land: 825,418 sq km

water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly more than half the size of Alaska
Land boundaries: total: 3,936 km
Border countries: Angola 1,376 km, Botswana 1,360 km, South Africa 967 km, Zambia 233 km
Coastline: 1,572 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: desert; hot, dry; rainfall sparse and erratic
Terrain: mostly high plateau; Namib Desert along coast; Kalahari Desert in east
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

highest point: Konigstein 2,606 m
Natural resources: diamonds, copper, uranium, gold, silver, lead, tin, lithium, cadmium, tungsten, zinc, salt, hydropower, fish
suspected deposits of oil, coal, and iron ore
Land use: arable land: 0.99%

permanent crops: 0.01%

other: 99% (2005)
Irrigated land:                          80 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 45.5 cu km (1991)
Natural hazards: prolonged periods of drought
Environment - current issues: limited natural fresh water resources; desertification; wildlife poaching; land degradation has led to few conservation areas
Geography - note: 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



Population: 2,088,669
Nationality: noun: Namibian(s)
adjective: Namibian
Ethnic groups: black 87.5%, white 6%, mixed 6.5%
Religions: Christian 80% to 90% (Lutheran 50% at least), indigenous beliefs 10% to 20%
Languages: English 7% (official), Afrikaans common language of most of the population and about 60% of the white population, German 32%, indigenous languages 1% (includes Oshivambo, Herero, Nama)
Literacy: total population: 85%




Country name:    

long form: Republic of Namibia
short form: Namibia
former: German Southwest Africa, South-West Africa

Government type:    
21 March 1990 (from South African mandate)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 21 March (1990)
Constitution: ratified 9 February 1990, effective 12 March 1990
Legal system: 
based on Roman-Dutch law and 1990 constitution; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

18 years of age; universal

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 yellow, 12-rayed sunburst; the lower fly-side triangle is green




Economy - overview: The economy is heavily dependent on the extraction and processing of minerals for export. Rich alluvial diamond deposits make Namibia a primary source for gem-quality diamonds. Namibia is the fourth-largest exporter of non-fuel minerals in Africa, the world's fifth-largest producer of uranium, and the producer of large quantities of lead, zinc, tin, silver, and tungsten. 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. The Namibian economy is closely linked to South Africa with the Namibian dollar pegged one-to-one to the South African rand. Increased fish production and mining of zinc, copper, uranium, and silver spurred growth in 2003-07.
Agriculture - products:
millet, sorghum, peanuts, grapes; livestock; fish
Industries: meatpacking, fish processing, dairy products; mining (diamonds, lead, zinc, tin, silver, tungsten, uranium, copper)
Currency (code): Namibian dollar (NAD); South African rand (ZAR)




Telephone system: good system with a combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity of about 45 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
Internet country code: .na




Airports: 137 (2007)
Railways: total: 2,382 km
Roadways: total: 42,237 km

paved: 5,406 km

unpaved: 36,831 km (2002)
Merchant marine: total: 1
Ports and terminals: Luderitz, Walvis Bay




Military branches:
Namibian Defense Force: Army, Navy, Air Wing

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; managed dispute with South Africa over the location of the boundary in the Orange River; Namibia has supported 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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