Languages: English (official), Afrikaans, German, Oshivambo, Kavango, Herero, Nama/Damara, other indigenous languages.
Borders: Angola, Zambia, Botswana, South Africa, and the Atlantic Ocean.
- The name of the country is from the Namib Desert, considered to be the oldest desert in the world.
- The orange color of the Namib Desert sand is a result of iron oxidization. Coastal winds create the tallest sand dunes in the world with some reaching 980 feet.
- Namibia is the worlds 34th largest country and is the size of Texas and Louisiana combined.
- Despite its size, the population is just 2.1 million people, making it the second least densely populated country in the world. (Mongolia is 1st)
- Namibia is known for wide-open spaces, abundance of wildlife, and two deserts. It also has the world's largest known underwater lake, Dragon's Breath Cave.
- The Namibian landscape consists of five geographical areas: the Central Plateau, the Namib Desert, the Great Escarpment, the Bushveld, and the Kalahari Desert.
- Namibia is the driest country in sub-Saharan Africa, having to depend on groundwater.
- Namibia is one of the few countries in the world to specifically address conservation and the protection of natural resources in its constitution.
Namibia’s people have a rich variety of linguistic and ethnic origins. The principal indigenous ethnic groups are the Aawambo, Vakavango, Caprivian, Ovaherero (including Ovahimba), Colored, Baster, Damara, Nama, San, and Tswana. The white population is of Afrikaans, English, and German descent.
A Little History
Namibia became a German colony in 1884 and was known as German South-West Africa. South Africa occupied the colony in 1915 after defeating the German force during World War I and administered it as a League of Nations mandated territory. Beginning in 1966, the military wing of SWAPO (the guerrilla group portion called the People's Liberation Army of Namibia) began their armed struggle for independence. Finally, in 1988, South Africa agreed to end its occupation and in 1990 Namibia gained its independence.
The president of Namibia is elected to a five-year term and is both head of state and the head of government. The current president is Hage Geingob who was inaugurated in March 2015.
The Constitution of Namibia guarantees the separation of powers:
- Executive: The Executive power is exercised by the President and Cabinet.
- Legislature: Namibia has a bicameral Parliament with the National Assembly as lower house, and the National Council as upper house.
- Judiciary: Namibia has a system of courts that interpret and apply the law in the name of the state.
While the constitution envisioned a multi-party system for Namibia's government, the SWAPO (South West Africa People's Organization) party has been dominant since the 1990 independence.
Namibia's economy is mixed, allowing for several forms of ownership of capital. Although Namibia's per capita GDP is high relative to much of sub-Saharan Africa, it is unequally distributed. Five percent of the population earns more than 71 percent of the national income. Those in the bottom 54 percent of income, overwhelmingly from the majority black population, are primarily rural and share 3 percent of the GDP, with per capita income of less than $100 per year.
Life expectancy at birth is 52.2 years as of the 2012 census...one of the lowest in the world. Approximately 13.1 percent of the population is infected with HIV as of 2011. This epidemic has reduced the working aged population and increased the number of orphans. The government has increasing demands to provide education, food, shelter and clothing for these orphans. The malaria problem seems to be compounded by the AIDS epidemic because the risk of death from malaria is raised by about 50% with a concurrent HIV infection.