GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION AND CLIMATE
Namibia is situated on Africa’s south-western seaboard. Its neigh-bouring countries are Angola to the north, Botswana and Zimbabwe to the east and South Africa to the south, with the Atlantic Oceanf orming its western border. The country covers 824 268 square kilometres and is divided into13 regions as determined by the delimitation commission.
Namibia consists of arid and desert regions in the south and south-west, changing to lush fertile areas in the far north and north-east, with the eastern part of the country being semi-arid. The hottest months fall between November and February, when average temperatures range from 20–36°C. In the colder months, May to August, temperatures vary from 3–6°C in the morning, often rising to 18–22°C by midday.
POPULATION AND LANGUAGES
Namibia is the second sparsest populated country in the world. The average population density is 2.6 people per square kilometre. The total population is estimated at 2.3 million, of which ±15% resides in the capital, Windhoek. Approximately 37% of the population lives in urban areas.
English is the official language,while Oshiwambo, Afrikaans, Herero, Khoe Khoegowab, German, Lozi, Rukwangali, Tswana and various San languages are also spoken.
220 VAC 50 Hz
Namibia falls within the GMT+2 time zone, switching to a different
time zone during the winter months.
Wintertime is set at GMT+1 and runs from the first Sunday in April to the first Sunday in September.
INTERNATIONAL TELEPHONE CODE
+264 + area code + number
Office hours are from 08:00–17:00 from Mondays to Fridays, while banks are open for business from 9:00–15:30 on weekdays and from 8:30–12:00 on Saturdays.
In September 1993 Namibia introduced its own currency, the Namibia
dollar (N$). It is linked to and on par with the South African rand
(ZAR), which is also legal tender in Namibia. Most major foreign
currencies and traveller’s cheques can be exchanged and international
credit and debit cards are generally accepted as a method of payment.
Windhoek serves as the administrative, judicial and legislative capital of Namibia, with a population of approximately 365 000. The capital has a moderate climate and is situated in the central highlands of the country at 1 650 metres above sea level. Windhoek gained municipal status in 1909 and was
proclaimed a city in 1965. It has a well-developed infrastructure and is regarded as a clean and well-functioning metropolis.
2013 PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
New Year’s Day – 1 Jan
Independence Day – 21 March
Good Friday – 29 March
Easter Monday – 1 April
Workers’ Day – 1 May
Cassinga Day – 4 May
Ascension Day – 9 May
Africa Day – 25 May
Heroes’ Day – 26 Aug
Human Rights Day – 10 Dec
Christmas Day – 25 Dec
Family Day – 26 Dec
Head of state
Namibia gained independence in 1990. President Sam Nujoma, now referred to as the founding father, was elected by direct popular vote as the first president of Namibia. He served for three terms, each lasting five years. His successor and the current president is his Excellency, President Hifikepunye Pohamba. The first lady is Mrs Penehupifo Pohamba.
Namibia’s constitution entrenches multiparty democracy and fundamental rights and freedoms. As laid down by the constitution, the executive, legislative, and judiciary branches of Government are independent and autonomous. The
president is head of the executive branch.
Namibia is built on strong democratic foundations. All institutions necessary to ensure democratic governance have been established.
National and presidential elections are conducted freely and fairly and are held every five years, the next ones being scheduled for November 2014. Regional and local authority elections are also held regularly.
There is no doubt that the judiciary operates with total independence. The Auditor-General’s office has gained credibility by acting as watchdog over the country’s financial governance and the Anti-Corruption Commission and Office of the Ombudsman function effectively. Government has remained steadfast in its commitment to a free-market economy and supports a vibrant and free press.
The qualifications of medical practitioners are on par with
international standards. All major towns have state hospitals, while well-equipped clinics with professionally trained staff serve in smaller towns and rural villages. There are privately managed hospitals in Windhoek, Tsumeb, Otjiwarongo, Ongwediva, Walvis Bay and Swakopmund. International SOS Namibia and EMED Rescue 24 provide emergency evacuation services, backed by well-established infrastructures and well-trained staff.
The employment rate among Namibia’s population aged 15 years and older is 54%, while the overall employment rate, according to the 2001 population census, is 69%. More females are unemployed than males. More than 50% of the workforce is employed in the private and public service sectors and 25% in the agricultural sector, while the industrial sector employs 12%, and is mainly male dominated.
Namibia’s literacy rate is 81% for people aged 15 years and older, while 65% of people aged six to 24 are enrolled in schools. Of those who are 15 and older,
42% have completed their primary education, while 15% have completed a secondary education. There are primary and secondary public schools in all the major towns throughout the country and several private schools in the main centres.
Namibia has several tertiary institutions, namely University of Namibia (UNAM), International University of Managment (IUM), Polytechnic of Namibia, two agricultural colleges and central and regional colleges of education.
Public school terms 2013
First term – 15 January–19 April
Second term – 21 May–16 August
Third term – 03 September–03 December
The Namibian Constitution makes provision for freedom of speech and expression, including freedom of the press and other media. In spite of its small population, Namibia has a varied and lively press, with thirteen newspapers.
There is no official public trans-port system in Namibia. Privately owned bus services run between Windhoek and Cape Town, Johannesburg, Victoria Falls, and Swakopmund/Walvis Bay.
Namibia’s road network consists of about 37 000 kilometres of gravel and 6 000 kilometres of tarred roads. Nearly all roads are well maintained. Namibia is linked by road to South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Trans-Caprivi and Trans-Kalahari highways provide fast road links between the port of Walvis Bay and landlocked neighbouring countries.
Points of entry through trade corridors
North – Oshikango
North-East – Katima Mulilo
East – Gobabis
South – Noordoewer and Ariamsvlei
West – Walvis Bay and Lüderitz harbour towns
Noordoewer – open 24 hours
Ariamsvlei – open 24 hours
Buitepos – open 07:00–24:00
Wenela – open 06:00–18:00
Ngoma – open 07:00–18:00
Mata Mata – open 8:00–16:30
Sendelingsdrift – open 8:00–16:30
Dobe – open 07:00–16:30
Impalila/Kasane – open 07:00–17:00
Oshikango – open 08:00–19:00
Katitwe – open 08:00–18:00
Velloorsdrift – open 08:00-16:30
Klein Manasse – open 08:00–16:30
Oranjemund – open 08:00–22:00
Ruacana – open 08:00–19:00
Omahenene – open 08:00–19:00
Muhembo – open 06:00–18:00
Hohlweg – open 08:00–16:30
A 2 500-kilometre narrow-gauge track runs from the South African border via Keetmanshoop to Windhoek, Okahandja, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. A northern branch line connects Omaruru, Otjiwarongo, Otavi, Tsumeb and Grootfontein, while in the far north, a newly built track connects Tsumeb and Oshikango. Windhoek is connected to Gobabis in the east by a branch line.
Direct air links to major Sub-Saharan cities, such as Cape Town, Johannesburg, Gaborone, Luanda, Lusaka, Accra and Harare are provided. There are regular international flights between Hosea Kutako International Airport, Windhoek and Frankfurt. Namibian airports are developed and managed by the Namibia Airports Company (NAC). Several privately owned domestic charter companies offer regional flights on a regular basis.
• Hosea Kutako International Air-port (48 km east of Windhoek)
• Eros Airport (in southern Windhoek)
• Walvis Bay Airport (serves as a second international airport)
• Swakopmund Airport
• Ondangwa Airport
There are more than 350 airstrips throughout the country that serve the more remote areas.
Walvis Bay is Namibia’s main port, while Lüderitz is a smaller, secondary port. The ports are operated by the Namibian Ports Authority (Namport). The Port of
Walvis Bay with its depth of 12.8 metres can accommodate container vessels with a capacity of 2 200–2 400 tonnes, handling up to 140 000 containers annually. Lüderitz harbour boasts a new cargo and container quay wall, which is 500 metres in length; the channel has a draft of –8.15 metres, which can accommodate vessels up to 150 metres in length.
NamPower is Namibia’s national power utility, assisted by regional electricity distributors (REDs).Currently functioning REDs are CENORED and NORED, which service the central-northern and far northern areas, and Erongo RED, which services the Erongo Region in the west.
Post and telecommunications
Namibia has invested in the modernisation and expansion of
telecommunications. International satellite services link Namibia to
telecommunication services worldwide. Telecom Namibia Ltd is
Namibia’s national communications operator. Namibia boasts a 98% digital telecommunications infra-structure, which provides direct dialing to most places in the world.
Namibia has cellular coverage in most towns, and road coverage along virtually all the major routes in the country. Namibia’s cellular network service providers are MTC, operational since 1995, and Leo, previously known as Cell One, which
was re-launched in October 2009.
Namibia’s postal services are operated by the state-owned enterprise, Namibia Post Ltd, which also offers courier services. NamPost has more than 122 post
offices and 93 000 registered mailbox holders countrywide and is affiliated to the Universal Postal Union.
Supplied by the Namibia Water Corporation Ltd (NamWater), Namibia’s water is of the highest standards. While tap water is potable and is widely consumed, bottled drinking water can be purchased throughout Namibia. NamWater operates 15 dams, 14 water-supply networks and 16 water-treatment plants across the country.
The Namibian economy is built on its mining industry, which consists
mainly of diamond and uranium mines with smaller copper, zinc and lead mines. The mining industry employs approximately 14 000 people. Value is added to diamonds in 12 licensed diamond-cutting and-polishing factories in the country.
Second only to mining in terms of foreign revenue earned, the tourism industry in Namibia offers tremendous potential for growth. Players involved in tourism include investors, private owners, parastatals such as Namibia Wildlife Resorts, the Namibian Government represented by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, and communities, mainly through Community-Based Natural Resource
Management programmes. Tourism comes in many different guises, with the hospitality business, sightseeing, hunting, and trophy hunting all offering lucrative business opportunities.
Namibia’s fishing grounds of 200 nautical miles are highly productive,
largely as a result of the upwelling of the nutrient-rich Benguela Current, which flows northwards from Antarctica up Namibia’s 1 500-kilometre-long coastline. The marine fishing industry is conducted from Swakopmund, Walvis
Bay and Lüderitz . Fishing quotas are strictly enforced to ensure the sustainability of this resource.
There is communal land tenure (41% of land) and commercial ownership (44%) of farms in Namibia. Farming centres around livestock and game farming, as Namibia with its arid conditions and poor soils is not well suited
to crop production. However, subsistence cropping is common in the north and grain is also grown commercially.
The manufacturing sectors in Namibia comprise meat processing,
fish processing, food and beve-rages, with two large contributing companies, Namibia Breweries and Namibia Dairies.
Many South African banks have Namibian counterparts in the
country, and there are a number of independent Namibian banks. Auto-banks are available in all major centres and very many of the small towns in Namibia.
Namibia is a member of the following international trade organisations (Source: Website of the Ministry of Trade and Industry: www.mti.gov.na):
Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)
AGOA was signed into law in May 2000. It provides duty-free and quota-free access to United States markets for all products(excluding products from the
textile and apparel markets) that originate from eligible beneficiary
Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries. Namibia was designated as eligible
for AGOA benefits and has been certified for the textile and apparel benefits, after establishing the required visa system.
Namibia/Zimbabwe Preferential Trade Agreement
This agreement came into force on 17 August 1992 and is governed by rules of origin. Goods grown, produced or manufactured in Namibia may be imported into Zimbabwe free of customs duty, and vice versa, if they are wholly produced/obtained in the country of origin. For Namibian exports to qualify for such preferential treatment, registration with the Ministry of Finance is required. A certificate of origin must accompany the goods and they must be transported directly without passing through a third country’s commercial zone.
Southern African Customs Union (SACU)
Namibia became a member of SACU in 1990. SACU membership comprises Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland and South Africa. In terms of the SACU agreement, there is free movement of goods among the members. Article 2 of the agreement prevents members from imposing duties or quantitative restrictions on goods grown, produced or manufactured in the common customs area. Duties are levied on goods upon entry into the common customs area, but once inside it, no further duties are charged.
World Trade Organisation (WTO)
The WTO serves as a forum for trade negotiations and settlement of trade disputes among nations. The WTO rules on international trade are contained in three main legal instruments: the general agreements on tariffs and trade (GATT), the general agreement on trade in services (GATS), and the agreement on trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS).
Southern African Development Community (SADC)
The ultimate objective of SADC is the creation of an integrated regional economic block. Member states are: Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Namibia in the past was responsible for coordinating marine fisheries and resources but since the restructuring of the SADC Secretariat these responsibilities are now centralized. The Free Trade Area has been establishished in 2008, although some members are not yet part of it.
Namibia forms part of the African, Caribbean and Pacific–European Union (ACP–EU) trade agreement, granting non-reciprocal preferential access to some of the ACP products into the EU market. This includes tariff preferences as well as specific arrangements regarding protocols for beef, veal, rum and bananas, whereby ACP countries are granted preferential treatment based on quotas. From the Namibian perspective, this concerns the export of beef,
where an annual quota for the export of boneless beef and veal of about 13 000 tonnes has been granted.
Generalised System of Preferences (GSP)
Namibia receives preferential market access for some of its products in markets of certain developed countries under various GSP schemes. Mainly manufactured/processed goods and agricultural products are involved. Eligible products can enter these markets duty free or at reduced rates. GSP schemes are non-contractual, and can be terminated unilaterally by any preference at any time.