Namibia is an independent, democratically governed republic that lies on the South -Western coast of Africa and forms part of the Southern African region. The capital city is Windhoek. Other major towns are Tsumeb and Keetmanshoop and the ports of Luderitz Bay and Walvis Bay.
The official language is English but German and Afrikaans and various local languages are also spoken. Namibia has a market based economy. The local currency is the Namibian dollar (N$) which is linked to the South African Rand. (US$ / N$ – current exchange rate). The country has a small but active Stock Exchange established in 1992.
The Namibian mining industry and oil industry are key sectors in the economy of the country. Namibia is one of the largest exporters of non-fuel minerals in Africa and one of the top uranium producers in the world. In particular the upstream oil industry is a major source of foreign exchange. The downstream oil industry is also well developed with 5 international oil companies active in the distribution and marketing of petroleum products. In addition to its mining and oil industries, Namibia has an active chemicals industry. The manufacturing industry in Namibia is small and focuses on food processing and beverages. The majority of manufactured goods are imported and the government hopes to promote manufactured exports through an export processing zone in Walvis Bay that offers tax incentives to investors.
A large portion of the population is reliant on agriculture and lives in extreme poverty due to distribution of income inequality. There is great potential for a fishing industry in Namibia. The tourism industry is growing with Namibia’s lack of pollution, spaciousness and wildlife serving as attractions to foreigners.
Namibia has an open economy and is thus affected by price fluctuations in the market. Economic policies aim at sustaining economic growth, variety in the productive base and the attraction of foreign investors.
Electricity is generated from the Ruacana hydroelectric station and a coal fired thermal station at Windhoek. Namibia imports and exports power from and to South Africa,depending on the quantity of supply from Ruacana. Development of offshore Kudu gas reserves would increase electricity generation and development of the power sector will encourage industrialisation.
The international time zone for Namibia is GMT +2. The international dialling code for the country is +264. Most of the major European airlines fly to Namibia and Air Namibia is the national airline with three international airports: Hosea Kutako International, Walvis Bay and Keetmanshoop Airports. Air Namibia is looking to privatise over a period of five years with a reduced government stake. The Walvis Bay Port is being developed to achieve greater container capacity. Most visitors to Namibia require visas except nationals of Commonwealth and Scandinavian countries and the USA.
Rennies travel has expanded with a new operation opening in Namibia in 1999. Customers will enjoy links with Thomas Cook and Business Travel International.
Namibia is a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) as well as the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Namibia has signed the Lome IV Convention, thus gaining duty free and quota free access to goods on the European Market and has been added on to the General System of Preferences (GSP) of many countries.
Medical services may require advance payment and can be expensive. Vaccinations may also be required prior to arrival in Namibia and medical insurance should be arranged. The state of health, current immunisation status, location and the local disease situation create the risk of possible contraction of hepatitis A, malaria, and typhoid fever.