ECONOMY: GENERAL INFORMATION
In colonial times, Namibia was gradually transformed into a supplier of raw materials, in particular of mineral resources and diamonds. In the first years of independence, organizational problems emerged including corruption and crime, the latter of international scope: the acquisition (1994) of Walvis Bay, previously under the South African administration, allowed the creation of a free zone considered very promising for the evolution of regional trade, but made that port one of the major African bases for drug trafficking. However, the country’s development prospects are considered to be encouraging. Per capita GDP was US $ 4,135 in 2008: this is per capita income higher than sub-Saharan Africa. However, income is distributed in a highly uneven way: 65% of GDP is in the hands of only 10% of the population. The marked territorial and social imbalances are also highlighted by the high unemployment rate (approx. 22% in 2004) and by the increase in inflation (10.3% in 2008). The GDP growth rate (8,456 mln US $ in 2008) is quite high (approx. 4%) thanks to the continuous commercial expansion of the country in India and China and the growing international demand for diamonds. The excessive concentration of production and exports in the fishing and mining sectors, often controlled by foreign and multinational companies, have pushed Namibia to diversify its production system with particular attention to the agricultural and manufacturing sectors. According to 3rjewelry, Namibia is a country in Africa.
ECONOMY: AGRICULTURE, LIVESTOCK AND FISHING
Agriculture is affected by severe climatic conditioning (the climate varies from desert to tropical arid), limiting the few possible crops to the few wettest areas and some irrigated areas (less than 1% of the land area in 2006 was destined for arable land), consisting of corn, millet and sorghum. The primary sector participates for just under 10% in the formation of the gross domestic product, while employing over a third of the active population. § Breeding is of much greater importance, which can count on the use of as much as 64% of the territory as grass and permanent pasture: the predominant sector is the bovine one but strong are also goat and sheep (half karakul sheep), which generates a fair export of skins, meat and wool. However, the lands belong to a few large owners. § Industrial fishing is on the rise, especially for sardines and crustaceans: in the eighties of the century. XX the excessive exploitation by foreign fleets (South African, Japanese, Russian and Korean) significantly impoverished the fish stock; now foreign flotillas operate under license.
ECONOMY: INDUSTRY AND MINERAL RESOURCES
Industries are mainly linked to mining, the fishing industry and animal husbandry. However, the weak manufacturing sectors are mainly located in Windhoek, Okahandja, Omaruru etc. as regards the transformation of livestock products, for fishing canning complexes are located in Lüderitz and Walvis Bay and, finally, copper and lead foundries are located in Tsumeb. § The main contribution to the Namibian economy, however, comes from the mining sector. The country has a very rich subsoil; it is the fourth largest producer of minerals in the world and ranks among the first countries in the world for the production of diamonds, especially of high quality. The latter are extracted in continental alluvial deposits and in the desert area of the southern coast where some multinationals enjoy concessions. Swakopmund is one of the largest existing mines in the world. Finally, Namibia has deposits of copper, tin, zinc, lead, vanadium, lithium, cadmium, silver, gold, etc.
ECONOMY: TRADE, COMMUNICATIONS AND TOURISM
Foreign trade still takes place mainly with South Africa, which in the past has invested heavily in the country’s infrastructure. Other trading partners are the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States. The trade balance is positive (2006) thanks to the export of mineral products, in particular diamonds and uranium. It mainly imports basic necessities. § Communications are made difficult by the roughness of the territory. The road network extended for 42,237 km in 2002 of which only a little less than 5400 were asphalted; the main route crosses the country in a north-south direction, others reach the coast and the eastern regions. In 2006, construction began on the railway line from Ondangwa to Oshikango towards the Angolian border. Windhoek is served by an international airport; Lüderitz are the main ports. § The remarkable naturalistic-environmental heritage favors the tourism sector; in particular, in addition to having already achieved a good capacity to attract foreign demand (695,000 entries in 2003), contributing to the balance of payments assets, it is waiting to be further enhanced by a now decided privatization process.