|Overview : |
Namibia is an Upper Middle-Income Country (UMIC), with a Gross Domestic product (GDP) per capita of USD$ 12.37 billion. Namibia is a constitutional multi-party democracy and features amongst the top 10 most peaceful countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. After experiencing average annual growth of 4.4% between 1991 and 2015, Namibia’s economy fell into recession in 2016 and has since struggled to recover. The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic is set to have an unprecedented impact on Namibia’s economy and has exacerbated preexisting structural challenges. Real GDP contracted by 7.4% year-on-year (y-o-y) over Q1-Q3 2020. The mining sector, which is an important earner of foreign exchange, declined by 12.2% y-o-y. This was a result of domestic factors and falling global demand (especially diamonds). On the back of local and foreign travel restrictions, the hospitality industry recorded a large contraction of 46.5% y-o-y. Overall, the GDP contracted by 7.3% in 2020. The Human Development Index for Namibia is rated at 0.646, which is above the average for countries in the medium human development group (0.631) and above the average of 0.523 for countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Namibia ranks 5th out of 54 African Countries on the 2016 Mo Ibrahim Index of African governance. With a Gini Index of 56, Namibia is considered one of the most unequal countries in the world. Due to inequalities in human development, Namibia’s Human Development Index is revised downward from 0.645 to 0.417, with education, health, and income contributing 25%, 22% and 53.6% to the loss, respectively. With regards to unemployment, UNECA estimates an increase between 0.75 (best-case) and 1.4 (worst-case) percentage points in unemployment, bringing it up from 33.4% to 34.2% and 34.5%, correspondingly.
The Transparency International Perception Corruption Index of 2017 ranks Namibia as the fifth least corrupt country in sub-Saharan Africa. In terms of press freedom, Namibia ranks 1st according to the 2016 World Index. Despite such a strong foundation, Namibia faces several persistent development challenges. It remains one of the most unequal nations in the world, with a Gini coefficient of 0.591. Gender inequality is also high as Namibia ranks 106th out of 159 countries with a Gender Inequality Index value of 0.440. As compared to other Upper-Middle Income Country (UMICs), it has the lowest percentage (55%) of its population with access to improved sanitation facilities and only 48% (mainly urban) with access to electricity.
The robust economic growth experienced since independence has neither led to adequate job creation nor has it been inclusive. Resultantly, there has been growing unemployment which is currently at 33.4%, with the youth occupying a share of 43.3%, 38% for women and 29.8% for men respectively. In addition, poverty rate or the population of people living under the poverty line is clustered around 17.4% and a literacy rate of 88.9%. According to the NSA, 43.3% of the total population in Namibia are living in multidimensional poverty. Worse off the disabled persons unemployment is 39%. Unemployment is also highest in rural areas at 39.2% compared to 30.3% in urban areas.. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated unemployment, as many staff in tourism industry are losing their jobs, affecting youth disproportionally, with youth demanding government action for creation of jobs