Namibia. In February, the government announced its intention to pursue a policy whereby selected farms would be expropriated, that is, the existing owner would be forced to sell. This is to accelerate the redistribution of land from white landowners who run large commercial farms to poor black people without their own agricultural land. According to countryaah, the current population of Namibia is 2,540,916. The government has so far primarily implemented a policy based on the fact that white farmers voluntarily sold their land, but this has been deemed too inefficient and slow. In November, a bill was proposed that would prohibit foreigners from owning land in Namibia.
In late June, the Deputy Prime Minister, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, visited North Korea. She then told the North Korean regime that Namibia would end its cooperation with two state-run North Korean companies. According to thereligionfaqs, the Namibian government made this decision after international pressure. According to the UN, one company, Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation, is engaged in arms trade, and the other is a construction company. In recent years, North Korea has been involved in the construction of a weapons factory and several public monuments in Namibia. However, co-ordination with the North Korean companies is considered contrary to the sanctions decided by the UN Security Council and which is part of the global community’s strategy to persuade North Korea to stop the development of nuclear weapons.
During the year, President Hage Geingob defended his country’s close ties to North Korea with the communist dictatorship supporting the then liberation movement SWAPO in the struggle for independence. Namibia will continue to have diplomatic relations with North Korea.
- Abbreviation Finder: Check to see how the 3-letter abbreviation of NAM stands for the nation of Namibia in geography.
Namibia is a country with significant development prospects. Rich in natural resources (from the presence of huge quantities of mineral reserves to an environment that is still intact and of great tourist interest), with a low population density and in an advanced process of demographic transition, it presents the typical problems of colonized countries, with strong internal inequalities and a significant number of residents (Blacks) living below the poverty line.
According to estimates made after the mid-1990s, the average per capita GDP is around 2000 dollars, a value that makes Namibia, at least on paper, one of the richest countries in the entire African continent. However, the production structure is still fragile, concentrated on a few sectors and in the hands of the white component of the population alone. In more recent years, in fact, the black salaried population (employed in mines, large farms, etc.) has benefited from significant wage increases; these, however, remain very low compared to the average incomes of the white population. Another factor of economic weakness is represented by the structure of foreign trade: almost all the goods produced in the country (minerals and agricultural products) are exported; conversely, Namibia it must import nine-tenths of the goods necessary for its economy (of which about half is made up of food products). The terms of trade, however, are unfavorable to Namibia as the main export items are strongly influenced by the trend of international demand (in particular by the economic trend of South Africa, to whose economy Namibia is strongly linked) and, for as regards agricultural production, by the meteorological trend; on the other hand, import flows are very rigid and the country is forced to resort to them, regardless of price changes. Economic difficulties also arose from the significant increase in the public deficit which occurred in the period immediately following independence. The structures of the new state were severely lacking and the Namibia needed investments in social services (health, education, etc.), in territorial infrastructures (public buildings, roads, ports, etc.), in the productive apparatus. The consequence was a strong rise in inflation (up to 20, 5 % immediately after independence, has been partially reabsorbed) to which it is associated with a strong increase in unemployment (34 % of the labor force in 1998).
Namibia has abundant mineral resources: in addition to a conspicuous production of diamonds (30% of world production) it possesses enormous resources of uranium and deposits of tin, lithium and cadmium; of some importance are also the productions of zinc, lead, copper, tungsten, vanadium, silver, gold, columbite, germanium and beryllium. Projects for new prospecting were funded by the European Union.
The diamond production provides about 70 % of the income of the mining sector: the mining activity of the Oranjemund mines was reorganized in 1994, but it is believed that their exploitation is unlikely to go beyond the year 2000. With this in mind, new prospecting has been carried out and other fields have been discovered in Auchas (operational since 1990) and Elizabeth Bay (since 1991). As for the Rössing uranium mines, after a long period of crisis linked to the fall in international demand, production has resumed at a rapid pace and the mine will supply uranium oxide until the early 2000s.
In 1996 the primary sector contributed about 13 % to the formation of GDP and absorbed just under 40 % of the workforce. The low productivity is partly linked to the difficult environmental and soil conditions, as well as to the drought that has hit the country several times; the events connected with independence, overgrazing, the excessive extensiveness of crops and the absenteeism of numerous large landowners (often South African investors) had a strong impact. The main activities concern the breeding of cattle and karakul sheep (the latter in crisis due to the decline in international demand). The products destined for local consumption consist of vegetables, fruit and corn. Since1991 the government authorities initiated a land reform policy (which provides for the expropriation of large estates), but the first results proved to be modest, due to the inadequacy of financial allocations.
The economic role of fishing is important. However, the excessive exploitation of fish schools, the absence of adequate legislation, the lack of international recognition of the limits of the area of economic exploitation have strongly affected the potential of the sector, which is currently in decline.
After independence, when the exclusive economic zone was recognized, interventions were carried out in favor of fish stocks, the decrease of which raises concerns for the stability of the fish processing industries. A new production unit is under construction in Lüderitz, while a new fishing port is under construction in Mowe Bay (with Kuwaiti capital) and another facility is planned for Walvis Bay.
The industrial sector is modest and mainly concerns the processing of agricultural products and some plants for the first processing of the minerals extracted. In 1991 a cement factory with a capacity of 200 went into operation. 000 t, but the construction sector is going through a phase of stagnation.
Favorable prospects concern tourism. The presence of numerous natural parks (Etosha, Namib-Naukluft, Skeleton Coast, Fish River Canyon, the small – but of extraordinary naturalistic interest – parks of the Caprivi Strip etc.), populated by the great African fauna, attracts increasing quantities of tourists, hosted, as well as in traditional accommodation facilities, in the widespread chain of Guest and Game farms (a sort of agritourism facilities that rely on large companies in the country).