Country Profile: Namibia
Capital and largest cityWindhoek
Other citiesSwakopmund, Walvis Bay, Oshakati, Otjiwarongo, Luderitz and Gobabis.
Official languagesEnglish, German, Afrikaans, Oshiwambo
Area825, 418 sq km
Population2, 088, 669 (2008 est.)
Although the offiical language of Namibia is English, it is spoken by less than one percent of the population, while Oshiwambo languages are spoken by almost half. Other languages spoken include Afrikaans, Khoekhoe, Kavango, Herero, Otjiherero, Caprivi as well as German and English.
Namibia's economy works on free-market trading principles, and is based on capital-intensive farming and industry. Namibia's workforce is predominantly employed in the industry sector, for example in manufacture and mining. The country has a high unemployment rate due to the severely damaging effects on the population caused by AIDS/HIV. Most of Namibia's imports come from nearby South Africa, while the country itself has natural resources of diamonds, copper, uranium, tin, natural gas, hydropower, fish, oil and coal. Other important industries include meatpacking, fish processing, dairy products and mining.
Subsistence agriculture is a vital industry in the country, and much of the population relies on this sector for their income. Namibia's economy is more prosperous than the poorest countries in Africa, but despite this there is still a large percentage of the population that lives in poverty. For this reason, the development of wildlife conservancies, as well as the privatisation of state sectors, is under way in order to attract foreign investment and expand the economy. Namibia is a member of the World Bank and IMF, and has signed the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.
Much of Namibia has been leased in the past for oil prospecting, and it also has reserves of natural gas in the mouth of the Orange River.
Tourism and Conservation
Namibia attracts many ecotourists, who visit the country in order to see its biodiverse climate and landscape, for example its major deserts. As well as wildlife reserves, extreme sports are popular and attract tourists, for example sandboarding and 4x4. Popular visitor attractions include the Caprivi Strip, the Skeleton Coast Park, Etosha Pan, Walvis Bay and Luderitz.
Namibia is a unique country because of the fact that within its constitution it specifies the need for conservation and the protection of wildlife reserves and ecosystems. The country has received funding from the United States Agency for International Development, and is supported by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, USAID, WWF, Endangered Wildlife Trust - which together form a Community Based Natural Resource Management support structure.
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