The manufacturing industry has grown since independence in 1990, but is hampered by the fact that the domestic market is small. Food production dominates, with products such as meat and fish products, soft drinks, beer and dairy products. The mining industry is also important and processing is increasing, not least in the form of diamond grinding.
In the mining industry, many foreign companies are active and the government encourages foreign investment. However, the company Namdeb, which completely dominates diamond mining, has since 1994 been owned equally by the multinational diamond giant De Beers and the Namibian state. The mining sector as a whole accounts for just over a tenth of the gross domestic product (GDP), most of which is the diamond sector.
The government is working to increase the processing of natural resources in the country. There is also a zinc refinery and copper smelter. Diamond grinding has been around since 1998. However, attempts to attract foreign investors by offering tax exemptions and other benefits in export production have not yielded as much dividend as desired.
- COUNTRYAAH: List of top trading partners of Namibia. Includes countries that imported most shipments from and exported most goods to the country.
In the country there are also companies that manufacture metal products, furniture, soap and detergents and more. In 2011, the country’s first cement factory opened, the largest in Africa.
Namibia’s economy is highly export-dependent. It is mostly raw materials from mines, the sea and agriculture that are sold abroad. Diamonds, uranium and fish are the most important export goods. The dominant trading partner is South Africa.
The commodity trade makes the economy sensitive to fluctuations in world market prices and to the fluctuations of the climate. Zinc, copper, lead and gold are also important export products, as are agricultural products. Some are sold as processed or semi-processed goods.
Minerals account for more than half of exports. The diamonds are mainly sold to the US, followed by China and India.
Fishing is the second largest source of foreign currency. Namibia is Africa’s largest fish exporter. The fish is mainly sold to Europe, and not least Spain.
Food, consumer goods and machinery belong to what must be imported. The country has had a trade deficit since independence in 1990, that is, imports are larger than exports. The current account, which also includes trade in services, has previously shown a surplus. This is mainly due to tourism assistance and income. In recent years, however, an increased trade deficit has meant that the current account balance has also fallen to minus.
Almost all of Namibia’s goods imports come from South Africa, and a large part of the exports go there. The EU is also a major export market.
Namibia is one of five countries in the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), a century-old construction that today has its secretariat in Windhoek (see also Foreign Policy and Defense).
FACTS – FOREIGN TRADE
US $ 4,223 million (2018)
US $ 5,745 million (2018)
– US $ 265 million (2018)
Commodity trade’s share of GDP
90 percent (2018)
Main export goods
diamonds, uranium, other minerals, fish
Largest trading partner
South Africa, Switzerland, Botswana, Angola
Tourism is a rapidly growing sector that has become increasingly important for the economy. Investments are made on quality and ecotourism, rather than mass tourism. Many visitors are attracted by the desert landscape, wildlife and the sea.
Political stability and good transport opportunities make it possible to attract foreign guests. The industry creates many jobs and generates large inflows of foreign currency.
There are several national parks. Many visit the Etosha Game Reserve west of the city of Tsumeb in the north. The multi-thousand-year-old rock carvings in Twyfelfontein became Namibia’s first contribution to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2007. In 2013 came the Namib Desert, the world’s only coastal desert with dunes where fog is the most important water source.
About a million tourists visit Namibia every year. Most are the visitors from South Africa. Among the long-distance guests are many Germans or Englishmen.
FACTS – TOURISM
Number of foreign visitors per year
US $ 378,000,000 (2016)
The share of tourist income from exports
9.3 percent (2016)
Pohamba re-elected President of the National Election results
National elections will be held November 28-29. In the presidential election, incumbent President Hifikepunye Pohamba is supported by 76.4 percent of voters – in the decimal point the same vote share as in the previous election. Former Foreign Minister Hipido Hamutenya comes in second place with just over 11 percent of the vote. In the National Assembly, Swapo gets 54 seats while the RDP gets 8. Seven small parties share the rest. The RDP claims that election fraud has occurred. Among other things, the number of votes cast in certain constituencies must have exceeded the number of registered voters. Foreign observers, however, consider the election fair, even though they point out that voting and reporting of results should have gone faster.