Namibia: Economy#

The economy is heavily dependent on the extraction and processing of minerals for export. Mining accounts for 11.5% of GDP, but provides more than 50% of foreign exchange earnings. Rich alluvial diamond deposits make Namibia a primary source for gem-quality diamonds. Marine diamond mining is increasingly important as the terrestrial diamond supply has dwindled. The rising cost of mining diamonds, increasingly from the sea, combined with increased diamond production in Russia and China, has reduced profit margins. Namibian authorities have emphasized the need to add value to raw materials, do more in-country manufacturing, and exploit the services market, especially in the logistics and transportation sectors.

Namibia is the world's fifth-largest producer of uranium. The Chinese owned Husab uranium mine in expected to start producing uranium ore in 2017. Once the Husab mine reaches full production, Namibia is expected to become the world’s second-largest producer of uranium. Namibia also produces large quantities of zinc and is a smaller producer of gold and copper. The mining and quarrying sectors employ 2% of the population. Namibia's economy remains vulnerable to world commodity price fluctuations, and drought.

Namibia normally imports about 50% of its cereal requirements; in drought years food shortages can be a problem in rural areas. A high per capita GDP, relative to the region, hides one of the world's most unequal income distributions. A priority of the current government is poverty eradication.

A five-year, Millennium Challenge Corporation compact ended in September 2014. As an upper middle income country, Namibia is ineligible for a second compact. The Namibian economy is closely linked to South Africa with the Namibian dollar pegged one-to-one to the South African rand. Namibia receives 30%-40% of its revenues from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). Volatility in the size of Namibia's annual SACU allotment complicates budget planning.

Economic Facts#

GDP (purchasing power parity)$27.04 billion (2016 est.)
$25.94 billion (2015 est.)
$24.63 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$10.18 billion (2015 est.)
GDP - real growth rate4.2% (2016 est.)
5.3% (2015 est.)
6.5% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$11,800 (2016 est.)
$11,400 (2015 est.)
$11,000 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
Gross national saving16.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
21.2% of GDP (2015 est.)
22.3% of GDP (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 63.5%
government consumption: 26.5%
investment in fixed capital: 36.9%
investment in inventories: -1.6%
exports of goods and services: 45.8%
imports of goods and services: -71.1% (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of originagriculture: 5.5%
industry: 29%
services: 65.6% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productsmillet, sorghum, peanuts, grapes; livestock; fish
Industriesmeatpacking, fish processing, dairy products, pasta, beverages; mining (diamonds, lead, zinc, tin, silver, tungsten, uranium, copper)
Industrial production growth rate4.6% (2016 est.)
Labor force1.21 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 31%
industry: 14%
services: 54%

note: about half of Namibia's people are unemployed while about two-thirds live in rural areas; roughly two-thirds of rural dwellers rely on subsistence agriculture (2013 est.)
Unemployment rate28.1% (2014 est.)
29.6% (2013 est.)
Population below poverty line28.7% (2010 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.4%
highest 10%: 42% (2010)
Distribution of family income - Gini index59.7 (2010)
70.7 (2003)
Budgetrevenues: $3.818 billion
expenditures: $4.408 billion (2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues37.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-5.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
Public debt35.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
34.1% of GDP (2015 est.)
Fiscal year1 April - 31 March
Inflation rate (consumer prices)6.8% (2016 est.)
3.4% (2015 est.)
Central bank discount rate6.75% (17 February 2016)
6.5% (31 December 2015)
Commercial bank prime lending rate9.8% (31 December 2016 est.)
7.41% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$2.507 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.583 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of broad money$7.496 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$6.574 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$4.837 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$4.904 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$1.305 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$1.152 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$1.176 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
Current account balance-$1.268 billion (2016 est.)
-$1.489 billion (2015 est.)
Exports$4.185 billion (2016 est.)
$4.015 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiesdiamonds, copper, gold, zinc, lead, uranium; cattle, white fish and mollusks
Imports$6.888 billion (2016 est.)
$6.914 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesfoodstuffs; petroleum products and fuel, machinery and equipment, chemicals
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$1.762 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.69 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Debt - external$6.515 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$6.124 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$NA
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$NA
Exchange ratesNamibian dollars (NAD) per US dollar -
16.15 (2016 est.)
12.7589 (2015 est.)
12.7589 (2014 est.)
10.8526 (2013 est.)
8.2 (2012 est.)