Economy in Namibia

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Economy—overview: The economy is heavily dependent on the extraction and processing of minerals for export. Mining accounts for 20% of GDP. Namibia is the fourth-largest exporter of nonfuel minerals in Africa and the world's fifth-largest producer of uranium. Rich alluvial diamond deposits make Namibia a primary source for gem-quality diamonds. Namibia also produces large quantities of lead zinc tin silver and tungsten. Half of the population depends on agriculture (largely subsistence agriculture) for its livelihood. Namibia must import some of its food. Although per capita GDP is three to six times the per capita GDP of Africa's poorest countries the majority of Namibia's people live in pronounced poverty because of the great inequality of income distribution and the large amounts going to foreigners. The Namibian economy has close links to South Africa.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$6.2 billion (1996 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 3% (1996 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$3 700 (1996 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:

agriculture: 15%

industry: 20%

services: 65% (1995 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 8% (1996 est.)

Labor force:

total: 500 000

by occupation: agriculture 49% industry and commerce 25% services 5% government 18% mining 3% (1994 est.)

Unemployment rate: 30% to 40% including underemployment (1997 est.)


revenues: $1.1 billion

expenditures: $1.2 billion including capital expenditures of $193 million (FY96/97 est.)

Industries: meat packing fish processing dairy products; mining (diamond lead zinc tin silver tungsten uranium copper)

Industrial production growth rate: 10% (1994)

Electricity—capacity: 0 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 0 kWh (1995)

note: imports electricity from South Africa

Electricity—consumption per capita: 584 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: millet sorghum peanuts; livestock; fish


total value: $1.45 billion (f.o.b. 1996 est.)

commodities: diamonds copper gold zinc lead uranium cattle processed fish karakul skins

partners: UK South Africa Spain Japan (1994)


total value: $1.55 billion (f.o.b. 1996 est.)

commodities: foodstuffs petroleum products and fuel machinery and equipment chemicals

partners: South Africa 85% Germany US Japan (1994 est.)

Debt—external: $315 million (1996 est.)

Economic aid:

recipient: ODA $NA

Currency: 1 Namibian dollar (N$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Nambian dollars (N$) per US$1—4.94193 (January 1998) 4.60796 (1997) 4.29935 (1996) 3.62709 (1995) 3.55080 (1994) 3.26774 (1993)

Fiscal year: 1 April—31 March

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