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Namibia Economy

    Economy—overview: The economy is heavily dependent on the extraction and processing of minerals for export. Mining accounts for 20% of GDP. Namibia is the fourth-largest exporter of nonfuel minerals in Africa and the world's fifth-largest producer of uranium. Rich alluvial diamond deposits make Namibia a primary source for gem-quality diamonds. Namibia also produces large quantities of lead, zinc, tin, silver, and tungsten. Half of the population depends on agriculture (largely subsistence agriculture) for its livelihood. Namibia must import some of its food. Although per capita GDP is three times the per capita GDP of Africa's poorer countries, the majority of Namibia's people live in pronounced poverty because of the great inequality of income distribution and the large amounts going to foreigners. The Namibian economy has close links to South Africa.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$6.6 billion (1998 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: 2% (1998 est.)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$4,100 (1998 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 11%
    industry: 34%
    services: 55% (1997 est.)

    Population below poverty line: NA%

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 7% (1996 est.)

    Labor force: 500,000

    Labor force—by occupation: agriculture 49%, industry and commerce 25%, services 5%, government 18%, mining 3% (1994 est.)

    Unemployment rate: 30% to 40%, including underemployment (1997 est.)

    Budget:
    revenues: $1.1 billion
    expenditures: $1.2 billion, including capital expenditures of $193 million (FY96/97 est.)

    Industries: meat packing, fish processing, dairy products; mining (diamond, lead, zinc, tin, silver, tungsten, uranium, copper)

    Industrial production growth rate: 10% (1994)

    Electricity—production: 0 kWh (1996)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: NA%
    hydro: NA%
    nuclear: NA%
    other: NA%

    Electricity—consumption: 1.11 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 1.11 billion kWh (1996)
    note: imports electricity from South Africa

    Agriculture—products: millet, sorghum, peanuts; livestock; fish

    Exports: $1.44 billion (f.o.b., 1998 est.)

    Exports—commodities: diamonds, copper, gold, zinc, lead, uranium; cattle, processed fish, karakul skins

    Exports—partners: UK 38%, South Africa 24%, Spain 12%, Japan 7% (1996 est.)

    Imports: $1.48 billion (f.o.b., 1998 est.)

    Imports—commodities: foodstuffs; petroleum products and fuel, machinery and equipment, chemicals

    Imports—partners: South Africa 87%, Germany, US, Japan (1995 est.)

    Debt—external: $315 million (1996 est.)

    Economic aid—recipient: $127 million (1998)

    Currency: 1 Namibian dollar (N$) = 100 cents

    Exchange rates: Nambian dollars (N$) per US$1—5.98380 (January 1999), 5.52828 (1998), 4.60796 (1997), 4.29935 (1996), 3.62709 (1995), 3.55080 (1994)

    Fiscal year: 1 April—31 March

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)