Languages: English (official), Afrikaans, German, Oshivambo, Kavango, Herero, Nama/Damara, other indigenous languages
Borders: Angola, Zambia, Botswana, South Africa, and the Atlantic Ocean
- Namibia is the size of Texas and Louisiana combined
- Despite its size, the population is just 2.3 million people, making it the second least densely populated country in the world (Mongolia is the first)!
- Namibia is known for wide-open spaces, abundance of wildlife, and two deserts. It also has the world's largest known underwater lake, Dragon's Breath Cave!
- Due to the orange color of its sand, which develops over time as the iron in the sand is oxidized, the Namib Desert is considered the oldest desert in the world! Coastal winds create the tallest sand dunes in the world there, with some reaching 980 feet.
Namibia’s people have a rich variety of linguistic and ethnic origins. The principal indigenous ethnic groups are the Aawambo, Vakavango, Caprivian, Ovaherero (including Ovahimba), Colored, Baster, Damara, Nama, San, and Tswana. The white population is of Afrikaans, English, and German descent.
A Little History
South Africa occupied the Germany colony of South-West Africa during World War I and administered it as a mandate until after World War II, when it annexed the territory. In 1966 the Marxist South-West Africa People's Organization [SWAPO] guerrilla group launched a war of independence for the area that would become Namibia. It wasn't until 1988 that South Africa agreed to end its administration in accordance with a UN peace plan for the region. Namibia has been governed by SWAPO since the country won independence in 1990.
Executive Branch: chief of state President Hifikepunye Pohamba since 2005 (president elected by popular vote for a five-year term, eligible for a second term), head of government, cabinet (appointed by the president from among the members of the National Assembly).
Legislative Branch: bicameral legislature consists of the National Council, primarily an advisory body (26 seats; two members chosen from each regional council to serve six-year terms), and the National Assembly (72 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
Judicial Branch: Supreme Court (judges appointed by the president on the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission), high court, lower courts
Namibia's economy is mixed, allowing for several forms of ownership of capital. Although Namibia's per capita GDP is high relative to much of sub-Saharan Africa, it is unequally distributed. Five percent of the population earns more than 70 percent of the national income. Those in the bottom 55 percent of income, overwhelmingly from the majority black population, are primarily rural and share 3 percent of the GDP, with per capita income of less than $100 per year.
The prevalence rate of HIV/AIDs in Namibia is estimated to be 13.1 percent of the population (2009 est.).