Facts


Population: 2,48 million (2016)
Area: 825 615 km²
Capital City: Windhoek


About Namibia
Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Zambia and Angola to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. Although it does not border Zimbabwe, less than 200 metres of the Zambezi River (essentially a small bulge in Botswana to achieve a Botswana/Zambia micro-border) separates the two countries. Namibia gained independence from South Africa on 21 March 1990, following the Namibian War of Independence. Its capital and largest city is Windhoek, and it is a member state of the United Nations (UN), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU), and the Commonwealth of Nations.
Namibia, the driest country in Sub-Saharan Africa, was inhabited since early times by the San, Damara, and Nama peoples. Since about the 14th century, immigrating Bantu peoples arrived as part of the Bantu expansion. Since then the Bantu groups in total, one of which is known as the Ovambo people, have dominated the population of the country and since the late 19th century, have constituted a majority.


Currency

The Namibian Dollar is the currency of Namibia. The currency code for Dollars is NAD, and the currency symbol is $ or alternatively N$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies. It is divided into 100 cents.

Climate


Namibia extends from 17°S to 25°S latitude: climatically the range of the sub-Tropical High Pressure Belt. Its overall climate description is arid, descending from the Sub-Humid (mean rain above 500 mm) through Semi-Arid between 300 and 500 mm (embracing most of the waterless Kalahari) and Arid from 150 to 300 mm (these three regions are inland from the western escarpment) to the Hyper-Arid coastal plain with less than a 100 mm mean. Temperature maxima are limited by the overall elevation of the entire region: only in the far south, Warmbad for instance, are mid-40 °C maxima recorded. Typically the sub-Tropical High Pressure Belt, with frequent clear skies, provides more than 300 days of sunshine per year. It is situated at the southern edge of the tropics; the Tropic of Capricorn cuts the country about in half. The winter (June – August) is generally dry. Both rainy seasons occur in summer: the small rainy season between September and November, the big one between February and April. Humidity is low, and average rainfall varies from almost zero in the coastal desert to more than 600 mm in the Caprivi Strip. Rainfall is highly variable, and droughts are common. The last rainy season with rainfall far below the annual average occurred in summer 2006/07.
Weather and climate in the coastal area are dominated by the cold, north-flowing Benguela Current of the Atlantic Ocean, which accounts for very low precipitation (50 mm per year or less), frequent dense fog, and overall lower temperatures than in the rest of the country. In Winter, occasionally a condition known as Bergwind (German for “mountain breeze”) or Oosweer (Afrikaans for “east weather”) occurs, a hot dry wind blowing from the inland to the coast. As the area behind the coast is a desert, these winds can develop into sand storms, leaving sand deposits in the Atlantic Ocean that are visible on satellite images.


Language

Namibia, despite its scant population, is home to a wide diversity of languages, from multiple language families: Indo-European, Bantu, and the various Khoisan families. When Namibia was administered by South Africa, Afrikaans, German, and English enjoyed an equal status as official languages. Upon Namibian independence in 1990, English was enshrined as the nation’s sole official language in the constitution of Namibia. German and Afrikaans were stigmatised as having colonial overtones, while the rising of Mandela’s Youth League and the 1951 Defiance Campaign spread English among the masses as the language of the campaign against apartheid.


Economy

Namibia’s economy is tied closely to South Africa’s due to their shared history. The largest economic sectors are mining (10.4% of the gross domestic product in 2009), agriculture (5.0%), manufacturing (13.5%), and tourism.
Namibia has a highly developed banking sector with modern infrastructure, such as online banking and cellphone banking. The Bank of Namibia (BoN) is the central bank of Namibia responsible for performing all other functions ordinarily performed by a central bank. There are 5 BoN authorised commercial banks in Namibia: Bank Windhoek, First National Bank, Nedbank, Standard Bank and Small and Medium Enterprises Bank.
According to the Namibia Labour Force Survey Report 2012, conducted by the Namibia Statistics Agency, the country’s unemployment rate is 27.4%. “Strict unemployment” (people actively seeking a full-time job) stood at 20.2% in 2000, 21.9% in 2004 and spiraled to 29.4% in 2008. Under a broader definition (including people that have given up searching for employment) unemployment rose to 36.7% in 2004. This estimate considers people in the informal economy as employed. Labour and Social Welfare Minister Immanuel Ngatjizeko praised the 2008 study as “by far superior in scope and quality to any that has been available previously”, but its methodology has also received criticism.
In 2004 a labour act was passed to protect people from job discrimination stemming from pregnancy and HIV/AIDS status. In early 2010 the Government tender board announced that “henceforth 100 per cent of all unskilled and semi-skilled labour must be sourced, without exception, from within Namibia”.
In 2013, global business and financial news provider, Bloomberg, named Namibia the top emerging market economy in Africa and the 13th best in the world. Only four African countries made the Top 20 Emerging Markets list in the March 2013 issue of Bloomberg Markets magazine, and Namibia was rated ahead of Morocco (19th), South Africa (15th) and Zambia (14th). Worldwide, Namibia also fared better than Hungary, Brazil and Mexico. Bloomberg Markets magazine ranked the top 20 based on more than a dozen criteria. The data came from Bloomberg’s own financial-market statistics, IMF forecasts and the World Bank. The countries were also rated on areas of particular interest to foreign investors: the ease of doing business, the perceived level of corruption and economic freedom. In order to attract foreign investment, the government has made improvement in reducing red tape resulted from excessive government regulations making the country one of the least bureaucratic places to do business in the region. However, facilitation payments are occasionally demanded by customs due to cumbersome and costly customs procedures. Namibia is also classified as an Upper Middle Income country by the World Bank, and ranks 87th out of 185 economies in terms of ease of doing business.


The cost of living in Namibia is relatively high because most of the goods including cereals need to be imported. Business monopoly in some sectors causes higher profit bookings and further raising of prices. Its capital city, Windhoek is currently ranked as the 150th most expensive place in the world for expatriates to live..
Taxation in Namibia includes personal income tax, which is applicable to total taxable income of an individual and all individuals are taxed at progressive marginal rates over a series of income brackets. The value added tax (VAT) is applicable to most of the commodities and services.
Despite the remote nature of much of the country, Namibia has seaports, airports, highways, and railways (narrow-gauge). The country seeks to become a regional transportation hub; it has an important seaport and several landlocked neighbours. The Central Plateau already serves as a transportation corridor from the more densely populated north to South Africa, the source of four-fifths of Namibia’s imports.


Education

Namibia has free education for both primary and secondary education levels. Grades 1–7 are primary level, grades 8–12 are secondary. In 1998, there were 400,325 Namibian students in primary school and 115,237 students in secondary schools. The pupil-teacher ratio in 1999 was estimated at 32:1, with about 8% of the GDP being spent on education. Curriculum development, educational research, and professional development of teachers is centrally organised by the National Institute for Educational Development (NIED) in Okahandja.
Most schools in Namibia are state-run, but there are some private schools, which are also part of the country’s education system. There are four teacher training universities, three colleges of agriculture, a police training college, and two universities: University of Namibia (UNAM) and Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST).


Politics and government

Namibia is a unitary semi-presidential representative democratic republic. The President of Namibia is elected to a five-year term and is both the head of state and the head of government. However, while the President is both head of state and government, all members of the government are individually and collectively responsible to the legislature.


Health

The HIV infection rate in Namibia is about 25%.
Namibia’s medical system is modern and capable of attending to whatever needs you may have. Staff are well trained and so HIV transmission in hospitals is not an issue. This applies to government and private hospitals alike, though line-ups are often shorter at private hospitals, and there have been cases of incorrect diagnosis in government hospitals.
The northern part of Namibia is in a malaria-risk zone, so consult a doctor before leaving, and take appropriate malaria precautions when travelling in these areas.
Namibia’s water supply is usually safe to drink, except where labelled otherwise. Campsites next to rivers often get their water directly from the river, so do not drink it!


Safety


Namibia is a peaceful country and is not involved in any wars. With the end of the Angolan civil war in May 2002, the violence that spilled over into northeastern Namibia is no longer an issue.
Namibia does, however, have a relatively high crime rate. Be careful around ATMs. For men, it is not prudent to walk or ride taxis alone in Windhoek or Oshakati after midnight. For women, it is not prudent after 9 p.m. Pickpockets can be a problem. Lately, there are many armed robberies reported; in most cases, tourists get robbed of belongings carried with them in a bag. For home security, electric fences are installed in almost every house in Windhoek.
Most reported robberies take place just outside of the city centre. The police report that taxi drivers are often involved: they spot vulnerable tourists and coordinate by cell phoning the robbers. Take these warnings in context; if you are alert and take some common sense precautions, you should have no problems.
Travellers should have no problem visiting the townships, but do not visit the townships alone unless you are familiar with the area. If you have been travelling in Southern Africa for a few months, you probably know what you are doing.
Namibia has a serious problem with driving under the influence of alcohol. The problem is aggravated because most people consider it no problem. When driving or walking on weekend evenings, be especially alert.
Be aware of tourist robbery in the Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Henties Bay areas. This problem is larger than commonly reported in the media.


Transport

There is no official public bus system in Namibia, but there are local buses that connect almost all of the major towns and cities.
The most reliable bus option in Namibia is the Intercape bus service. They are generally in good condition and safe, and even provide air conditioning. Intercape buses do not run every day and don’t have many stops, so it’s important to look at the website for their routes and schedule.
Rental Car is the most popular form of traveling in Namibia. The rental truck industry in Windhoek, the capital, is booming! With wide-open desert roads, towering sand dunes, and no one around, a road trip in Namibia is the perfect way to go exploring.
Train:- The TransNamib passenger train makes only a few stops, but it definitely provides interesting views of this desert country out the window. Trains mostly operate at night, so if you plan to make use of the train you should be prepared to sleep in a first-class seat or economy reclining seat. There are no sleeping cabins aside from the Keetmanshoop-Windhoek train. Tickets range from $6 to $15 USD for economy and business-class seats, respectively.


Cuisine


Namibian cuisine is the cuisine of Namibia. It is influenced by two primary cultural strands: Cookery practised by indigenous people of Namibia such as the Himba, Herero and San groups. Settler cookery introduced during the colonial period by people of German, Afrikaner and British descent.
Indigenous cookery
In the precolonial period indigenous cuisine was characterised by the use of a very wide range of fruits, nuts, bulbs, leaves and other products gathered from wild plants and by the hunting of wild game. The domestication of cattle in the region about two thousand years ago by Khoisan groups enabled the use of milk products and the availability of meat. However, during the colonial period the seizure of communal land in Namibia helped to discourage traditional agriculture and reduced the extent of land available to indigenous people.
Colonial cookery
Namibia was settled by German colonists during the nineteenth century, and German influence on white Namibian cookery remains very strong. One example of German settler cuisine is Wiener schnitzel.
Brewing
Namibia was settled by German colonists during the nineteenth century, and German influence on white Namibian cookery remains very strong. One example of German settler cuisine is Wiener schnitzel.

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