Namibia

Republic of Namibia

Motto: "Unity, Liberty, Justice"
Location of Namibia (Dark Blue) in the African Union (Light Blue)
Location of Namibia (Dark Blue) in the African Union (Light Blue)
Capital
and largest city
Windhoek
22°34′S 17°5′E / 22°34′S 17°5′E / -22.567; 17.083
Official languagesEnglish
Recognised national languages
Recognised regional languages
Ethnic groups
(2014)
Demonym(s)Namibian
GovernmentUnitary dominant-party semi-presidential republic[9][10]
• President
Hage Geingob
Nangolo Mbumba
Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila
Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah
Peter Shivute
LegislatureParliament
National Council
National Assembly
Independence from South African Federation
09 February 1990
• Independence
21 March 1990
Area
• Total
825,615 km2 (318,772 sq mi) (34th)
• Water (%)
negligible
Population
• 2017 estimate
2,606,971[11]
• Density
3.2/km2 (8.3/sq mi) (235th)
GDP (PPP)2018 estimate
• Total
$27.505 billion[12]
• Per capita
$11,516[12]
GDP (nominal)2018 estimate
• Total
$14.148 billion[12]
• Per capita
$5,923[12]
Gini (2015)59.1[13]
high
HDI (2017)Increase 0.647[14]
medium · 129th
CurrencyNamibian dollar
(NAD)
South African rand (ZAR)
Time zoneUTC+2 (CAST)
Driving sideleft
Calling code+264
ISO 3166 codeNA
Internet TLD.na

Namibia (ə/ (About this soundlisten), ˈ-/),[15][16] officially the Republic of Namibia, is a country in southern Africa. Its western border is the Atlantic Ocean; it shares land borders with Zambia and Angola to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. Although it does not border Zimbabwe, less than 200 metres of the Zambezi River separates the two countries. Namibia gained independence from South Africa on 21 March 1990, following the Namibian War of Independence. Its capital and largest city is Windhoek, and it is a member state of the United Nations (UN), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU), and the Commonwealth of Nations.

Namibia, the driest country in Sub-Saharan Africa,[17] was inhabited since early times by the San, Damara and Nama people. Around the 14th century, immigrating Bantu peoples arrived as part of the Bantu expansion. Since then, the Bantu groups, the largest being the Ovambo, have dominated the population of the country; since the late 19th century, they have constituted a majority.

In 1878, the Cape of Good Hope, then a British colony, annexed the port of Walvis Bay and the offshore Penguin Islands; these became an integral part of the new Union of South Africa at its creation in 1910. In 1884 the German Empire established rule over most of the territory, forming a colony known as German South West Africa. It developed farming and infrastructure. Between 1904 and 1908 it perpetrated a genocide against the Herero and Nama people. German rule ended in 1915 with a defeat by South African forces. In 1920, after the end of World War I, the League of Nations mandated the administration of the colony to South Africa. It imposed its laws, including racial classifications and rules. From 1948, with the National Party elected to power, South Africa applied apartheid also to what was then known as South West Africa.

In the later 20th century, uprisings and demands for political representation by native African political activists seeking independence resulted in the UN assuming direct responsibility over the territory in 1966, but South Africa maintained de facto rule. In 1973 the UN recognised the South West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO) as the official representative of the Namibian people; the party is dominated by the Aawambo, who are a large plurality in the territory. Following continued guerrilla warfare, South Africa installed an interim administration in Namibia in 1985. Namibia obtained full independence from South Africa in 1990. However, Walvis Bay and the Penguin Islands remained under South African control until 1994.

Namibia has a population of 2.6 million people and a stable multi-party parliamentary democracy. Agriculture, herding, tourism and the mining industry – including mining for gem diamonds, uranium, gold, silver, and base metals – form the basis of its economy. The large, arid Namib Desert has resulted in Namibia being overall one of the least densely populated countries in the world.

Etymology

The name of the country is derived from the Namib Desert, the oldest desert in the world.[18] The name Namib itself is of Nama origin and means "vast place". Before its independence in 1990, the area was known first as German South-West Africa (Deutsch-Südwestafrika), then as South-West Africa, reflecting the colonial occupation by the Germans and the South Africans.