Namibia has much to offer residents and visitors. Its South Atlantic coastline, rugged mountains, arid deserts and wooded bushlands make the country a dream for outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds, as does the magnificent wildlife in those regions.

Namibia's government operates as a representative democratic republic. The president is the head of state, and is elected to a five year term. The president appoints the prime minister, who is the head of government, and Supreme Court justices.

The legislative branch of the Namibian government is bicameral. The National Assembly has 78 members, most of whom are elected by the people. The National Council has 26 elected members, two for each region of Namibia.

Namibia's gross domestic product per capita is one of the more impressive in the region, but the country's economic sectors are sharply divided. While most Namibians engage in subsistence farming, there are also distinct classes of skilled and professional workers. The country's modern economic market relies heavily on industry, agriculture, and the mining of gem quality diamonds, uranium, lead, silver, and minerals.

The government and the nation's industries have pursued free market economic principles, and have also actively sought donors and investors. Namibia's location has afforded opportunity for the country to enter into several regional trade alliances and agreements.

Although Namibia has been independent from South Africa since 1990, as part of the Common Monetary Area, Namibia's dollar has a fixed exchange rate that is 1:1 to the South African rand. South Africa is also the prime source for Namibia's imports.

The people
Namibia is one of the least densely populated countries on the planet, and yet its population is relatively diverse. Most Namibians are ethnically Ovambo, a group that resides principally in the northern regions of the country. Herero and Himba people also live in Namibia. Most members of these ethnic groups speak Bantu languages. Other ethnic groups also have presences in Namibia.

As with many neighboring countries, Namibia's people are gravely affected by the HIV epidemic, estimated to affect 25% of Namibians.

The country remains socioeconomically divided by race. Whites, who make up less than ten percent of the population, enjoy a comfortable level of wealth, education, and health care. Many blacks live in conditions of poverty. Land reform, in which white-owned agricultural property and assets are purchased by the government and redistributed, has become an important issue in Namibian politics


Official Name: Republic of Namibia
Capital City: Windhoek
Official Language: English, Afrikaans, German, indigenous languages
Area: 824,292 sq km/512,191 sq mi
Population: 2.1 million
Religion: Christian 80% to 90%, indigenous beliefs 10% to 20%
Currency: Namibian dollar (NAD)
Time Zone: GMT plus 1 hour; N. Eastern Standard Time (EST) plus 6 hrs. Daylight Saving Time is observed.
Weights and Measures: Metric system
Country Domain: .na
Country Tel Code: 264