Namibia – The Jewel and Desert


Before we kick off our Namibia journey we are launching our Africa Comment Competition in this edition of Neil On Africa. We are giving away a signature pen branded with NEIL ON AFRICA every week to the most interesting fact of the country highlighted in the article and thus can be mailed to me on the mail posted at the end of article. Good fact hunting !!

Namibia the 3rd youngest country in Africa and the 2nd least densely populated sovereign country in the World with a population of 2.534 million (2017) and a land mass of 825 000 km2 . The country is popular for its Namib dessert which is the oldest dessert in the world with some red colored sand home to the highest dunes in the world, the Sossusvlei dune 7 which measures 383 meters and no doubt diamonds.

The country has since independence in 1990 enjoyed political stability which has had an impact in reducing poverty which can be seen in the proportion of Namibians living below the national poverty line declining form 69.3 % in 1993/4 to 28.7 % in 2009/10 and further to 17.4% in 2015/16. Sadly, this improvement in welfare has not yet translated into job creation and has not solved socio-economic inequality according to the World Bank. The country has been also experiencing an economic recession with the economic activity shrinking with 0.4 % in 2018 and 0.9 in 2017

The mining sector is the largest sector producing export revenue (25%) and foreign currency reserves from Diamonds, Uranium, Gold, Copper, Zinc, Mable and granite employing 3% of the labour force. Uranium fluctuating world prices have also impacted on the export revenue of Namibia decline as the 6th world producer and the second in Africa from Niger, has been experiencing shocks from declining world uranium prices.

The Tourism sector is also key as it offers one of the prime destinations in Africa contributing around 14.5 % to the GDP and indirectly & directly employing close to 20% of the workforce. A renowned ecotourism destination offering sport hunting and other extreme sports such as skydiving, sand boarding, and off-road driving are extremely popular in Namibian cities. An amazing fact especially when the Windhoek Hosea Kutako International Airport is 46.6 km out of from Windhoek City Centre.
The manufacturing sector is the pillar of the Namibian sector as it contributes more than 20% to the GDP. The ongoing construction of two key artery roads, the Trans-Kalahari highway and the Trans-Caprivi Highway, will open up the region and provide access to Walvis Bay. Walvis Bay is the main deep-water port in Namibia and is expected to be an important commercial gateway to the southern African region.

Agriculture, although it only contributes a small part to the gross national product, the agricultural sector accounts for almost half of all jobs, but most of them are poorly paid. There are around 4000 farms. Namibia’s fisheries have become an important economic sector with good growth rates. It employs more than 15,000 people, mainly in Walvis Bay and Lüderitz.

Namibia’s story can not be told without speaking about the major presence of German’s who constitute 1% of the population and German being one of the official languages spoken by close to 32 % of the population according to the (2011 census). This is normal as this goes back to the history of our African countries’ colonial era, the presence of the British in Zimbabwe and the presence of the Portuguese in Mozambique. We can also see the influence of the Germans in Beer brewed according to the German Purity Law, The Windhoek Lager. An export hit of Namibia Breweries Ltd Two German Friends Started in 9120 as South West Breweries and today we know it as Namibian Breweries Limited. Very interestingly I had the privilege to at one time meet one of the two wealthiest people in Namibia Mr Pupkewitz a stunning man and the other was Carl List owner of NBL.

Now for the NEIL TABLE OF ECONOMY, a can of coke in Namibia is N$8 and a litre of petrol is N$13.17 which translates to R8 and R13.17.

The story of South West Africa, a previous South African administration and now Republic of Namibia has tremendous history and no doubt the country is trying to build a strong investment vision. With enough resources the hope is to turn the “ Desert into the Jewel of Africa “.