Namibia - Tips

Namibia Bureau of African Affairs
July 2007

Background Note: Namibia

Elephants and a gazelle drink at a
water hole in Etosha National Park,
Namibia, September 23, 2004. [© AP
Images]

Flag of Namibia is a large blue triangle with a yellow sunburst filling the
upper left section and an equal green triangle (solid) filling the lower
right section; the triangles are separated by a red stripe that is contrasted
by two narrow white-edge borders.

PROFILE

OFFICIAL NAME:
Republic of Namibia

Geography
Area: 823,145 sq. km. (320,827 sq. mi.); the size of Texas and Louisiana
combined.
Cities: Capital--Windhoek (2001 census) pop. 233,529. Other cities
--Grootfontein, Katima Mulilo, Keetmanshoop, Luderitz, Ondangwa, Oranjemund,
Oshakati, Otjiwarongo, Swakopmund, Tsumeb, Walvis Bay.
Terrain: Varies from coastal desert to semiarid mountains and plateau.
Climate: Semidesert and high plateau.

People
Nationality: Noun and adjective--Namibian(s).
Population (2002 est.): 1.8 million.
Annual growth rate (2004 est.): 0.9%.The population growth rate is depressed
by an HIV/AIDS prevalence rate estimated to be 22.3%.
Ethnic groups: Black 87%; white 6%; mixed race 7%.About 50% of the
population belong to Ovambo ethnic group, and 9% to the Kavango ethnic group.
Other ethnic groups are: Herero 7%, Damara 7%, Nama 5%, Caprivian 4%, San 3%,
Baster 2%, and Tswana 0.5%.
Religions: Predominantly Christian; also indigenous beliefs.
Languages: English (official); Afrikaans, German, Oshivambo, Herero, Nama/
Damara, other indigenous languages.
Education: Years compulsory--to age 16. Attendance (2001)--82%. Literacy
(adults, 2003)--81%.
Work force (2002 est.): 200,000.

Government
Type: Republic.
Independence: March 21, 1990.
Branches: Executive--president (elected for 5-year term), prime minister.
Legislative--bicameral Parliament: National Assembly and National Council.
Judicial--Supreme Court, the High Court, and lower courts.
Subdivisions: 13 administrative regions.
Major political parties: South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO),
Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA), United Democratic Front of Namibia
(UDF), Congress of Democrats (COD), Republican Party (RP), National Unity
Democratic Organization (NUDO), Monitor Action Group (MAG).
Suffrage: Universal adult.

Economy
GDP (2004): $5.5 billion.
Annual growth rate (2004): 4.2%.
Per capita GNI (2004): $2,370.
Inflation rate (2004): 3.9%.
Natural resources: Diamonds, copper, gold, uranium, lead, tin, zinc, salt,
vanadium, fisheries, and wildlife.
Agriculture (9.6% of GDP, 2003): Products--beef and meat products, fish and
fish products, grapes, wool.
Mining (6.8% of GDP, 2003): Gem-quality diamonds, zinc, copper, other.
Trade: Exports (2004)--$1.6 billion: diamonds, copper, lead, uranium, beef,
cattle, fish, karakul pelts. Imports (2004)--$2.3 billion: foodstuffs,
construction material, manufactured goods. Major partners--South Africa,
Angola, Botswana, Germany, U.K., U.S.

PEOPLE
Namibians are of diverse ethnic origins. The principal groups are the Ovambo,
Kavango, Herero/Himba, Damara, mixed race ("colored" and Rehoboth Baster),
white (Afrikaner, German, and Portuguese), Nama, Caprivian, San, and Tswana.

The Ovambo make up about half of Namibia's people. The Ovambo, Kavango, and
East Caprivian peoples, who occupy the relatively well-watered and wooded
northern part of the country, are settled farmers and herders. Historically,
these groups had little contact with the Nama, Damara, and Herero, who roamed
the central part of the country vying for control of sparse pastureland.
German colonial rule destroyed the war-making ability of the tribes but did
not erase their identities or traditional organization. People from the more
populous north have settled throughout the country in recent decades as a
result of urbanization, industrialization, and the demand for labor.

Missionary work during the 1800s drew many Namibians to Christianity. While
most Namibian Christians are Lutheran, there also are Roman Catholic,
Methodist, Anglican, Jewish, African Methodist Episcopal, and Dutch Reformed
Christians represented.

Education and services have been extended in varying degrees to most rural
areas in recent years. The estimated adult literacy rate of Namibians was
relatively high at 81% as of 2003. However, although the national literacy
rate is estimated to be 81%, it is important to note that the number of
Namibians who are functionally literate and have the skills that the labor
market needs is significantly fewer.

HISTORY
The San are generally assumed to have been the earliest inhabitants of the
region. Later inhabitants include the Nama and the Damara or Berg Dama. The
Bantu-speaking Ovambo and Herero migrated from the north in about the 14th
century A.D.

The inhospitable Namib Desert constituted a formidable barrier to European
exploration until the late 18th century, when successions of travelers,
traders, hunters, and missionaries explored the area. In 1878, the United
Kingdom annexed Walvis Bay on behalf of Cape Colony, and the area was
incorporated into the Cape of Good Hope in 1884. In 1883, a German trader,
Adolf Luderitz, claimed the rest of the coastal region after negotiations
with a local chief. Negotiations between the United Kingdom and Germany
resulted in Germany's annexation of the coastal region, excluding Walvis Bay.
The following year, the United Kingdom recognized the hinterland up to 20
degrees east longitude as a German sphere of influence. A region later known
as the Caprivi Strip became a part of South West Africa after an agreement on
July 1, 1890, between the United Kingdom and Germany. The British recognized
that the strip would fall under German administration to provide access to
the Zambezi River and German colonies in East Africa. In exchange, the
British received the islands of Zanzibar and Heligoland.

German colonial power was consolidated, and prime grazing land passed to
white control as a result of the Herero and Nama wars of 1904-08. German
administration ended during World War I following South African occupation in
1915.

On December 17, 1920, South Africa undertook administration of South West
Africa under the terms of Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations
and a mandate agreement by the League Council. The mandate agreement gave
South Africa full power of administration and legislation over the territory.
It required that South Africa promote the material and moral well-being and
social progress of the people.

When the League of Nations was dissolved in 1946, the newly formed United
Nations inherited its supervisory authority for the territory. South Africa
refused UN requests to place the territory under a trusteeship agreement.
During the 1960s, as the European powers granted independence to their
colonies and trust territories in Africa, pressure mounted on South Africa to
do so in Namibia, which was then known as South West Africa. In 1966, the UN
General Assembly revoked South Africa's mandate.

Also in 1966, the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) began its
armed struggle to liberate Namibia, in part from bases abroad. After Angola
became independent in 1975, SWAPO established bases in the southern part of
that country. Hostilities intensified over the years, particularly in the
north.

In a 1971 advisory opinion, the International Court of Justice upheld UN
authority over Namibia, determining that the South African presence in
Namibia was illegal and that South Africa therefore was obligated to withdraw
its administration from Namibia immediately. The Court also advised UN member
states to refrain from implying legal recognition or assistance to the South
African presence.

International Pressure for Independence
In 1977, Western members of the UN Security Council, including Canada,
France, the Federal Republic of Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United
States (known as the Western Contact Group), launched a joint diplomatic
effort to bring an internationally acceptable transition to independence for
Namibia. Their efforts led to the presentation in April 1978 of Security
Council Resolution 435 for settling the Namibian problem. The proposal, known
as the UN Plan, was worked out after lengthy consultations with South Africa,
the front-line states (Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, and
Zimbabwe), SWAPO, UN officials, and the Western Contact Group. It called for
the holding of elections in Namibia under UN supervision and control, the
cessation of all hostile acts by all parties, and restrictions on the
activities of South African and Namibian military, paramilitary, and police.

South Africa agreed to cooperate in achieving the implementation of
Resolution 435. Nonetheless, in December 1978, in defiance of the UN
proposal, it unilaterally held elections in Namibia that were boycotted by
SWAPO and a few other political parties. South Africa continued to administer
Namibia through its installed multiracial coalitions. Negotiations after 1978
focused on issues such as supervision of elections connected with the
implementation of the UN Plan.

Negotiations and Transition
Intense discussions between the concerned parties continued during the
1978-88 period, with the UN Secretary General's Special Representative,
Martti Ahtisaari, playing a key role. The 1982 Constitutional Principles,
agreed upon by the front-line states, SWAPO, and the Western Contact Group
created the framework for Namibia's democratic constitution.

In May 1988, a U.S. mediation team, headed by Assistant Secretary of State
for African Affairs Chester A. Crocker, brought negotiators from Angola,
Cuba, and South Africa, and observers from the Soviet Union together in
London. Intense diplomatic maneuvering characterized the next 7 months, as
the parties worked out agreements to bring peace to the region and make
implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 435 possible. On December
13, Cuba, South Africa, and the People's Republic of Angola agreed to a total
Cuban troop withdrawal from Angola. The protocol also established a Joint
Commission, consisting of the parties with the United States and the Soviet
Union as observers, to oversee implementation of the accords. A bilateral
agreement between Cuba and the People's Republic of Angola was signed in New
York on December 22, 1988. On the same day a tripartite agreement, in which
the parties recommended initiation of the UN Plan on April 1 and the Republic
of South Africa agreed to withdraw its troops, was signed. Implementation of
Resolution 435 officially began on April 1, 1989, when South
African-appointed Administrator Gen. Louis Pienaar officially began
administrating the territory's transition to independence. Special
Representative Martti Ahtisaari arrived in Windhoek to begin performing his
duties as head of the UN Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG).

The transition got off to a shaky start on April 1 because, in contravention
to SWAPO President Sam Nujoma's written assurances to the UN Secretary
General to abide by a cease-fire and repatriate only unarmed insurgents,
about 2,000 armed members of the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN),
SWAPO's military wing, crossed the border from Angola in an apparent attempt
to establish a military presence in northern Namibia. The Special
Representative authorized a limited contingent of South African troops to aid
the South West African police in restoring order. A period of intense
fighting followed, during which 375 PLAN fighters were killed. At Mt. Etjo, a
game park outside Windhoek, in a special meeting of the Joint Commission on
April 9, a plan was put in place to confine the South African forces to base
and return PLAN elements to Angola. While the problem was solved, minor
disturbances in the north continued throughout the transition period. In
October, under order of the UN Security Council, Pretoria demobilized members
of the disbanded counterinsurgency unit, Koevoet (Afrikaans for "crowbar"),
who had been incorporated into the South West African police.

The 11-month transition period went relatively smoothly. Political prisoners
were granted amnesty, discriminatory legislation was repealed, South Africa
withdrew all its forces from Namibia, and some 42,000 refugees returned
safely and voluntarily under the auspices of the Office of the UN High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Almost 98% of registered voters turned out
to elect members of the Constituent Assembly. The elections were held in
November 1989 and were certified as free and fair by the Special
Representative, with SWAPO taking 57% of the vote, just short of the
two-thirds necessary to have a free hand in drafting the constitution. The
Democratic Turnhalle Alliance, the opposition party, received 29% of the
vote. The Constituent Assembly held its first meeting on November 21 and its
first act unanimously resolved to use the 1982 Constitutional Principles as
the framework for Namibia's new constitution.

By February 9, 1990, the Constituent Assembly had drafted and adopted a
constitution. March 21, independence day, was attended by Secretary of State
James A. Baker III, who represented President George H.W. Bush. On that same
day, he inaugurated the U.S. Embassy in Windhoek in recognition of the
establishment of diplomatic relations.

On March 1, 1994, the coastal enclave of Walvis Bay and 12 offshore islands
were transferred to Namibia by South Africa. This followed 3 years of
bilateral negotiations between the two governments and the establishment of a
transitional Joint Administrative Authority (JAA) in November 1992 to
administer the 300-square mile territory. The peaceful resolution of this
territorial dispute, which dated back to 1878, was praised by the United
States and the international community, as it fulfilled the provisions of UN
Security Council 432 (1978) which declared Walvis Bay to be an integral part
of Namibia.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
Namibia is a multiparty, multiracial democracy, with a president who is
elected for 5-year term. The constitution establishes a bicameral Parliament
and provides for general elections every 5 years and regional elections every
6 years. Members of the 72-seat National Assembly are elected on a party list
system on a proportional basis. Members of the 26-seat National Council are
elected from within popularly elected Regional Councils. The three branches
of government are subject to checks and balances, and provision is made for
judicial review. The judicial structure in Namibia largely parallels that of
South Africa and comprises a Supreme Court, the High Court, and lower courts.
Roman-Dutch law has been the common law of the territory since 1919.
Namibia's unitary government is currently in the process of decentralization.

The constitution provides for the private ownership of property and for human
rights protections, and states that Namibia should have a mixed economy and
encourage foreign investment.

Sam Nujoma, leader of the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO),
wasPresident from Namibia's independence in 1990 until 2005.In November
2004, citizens elected Minister of Lands, Resettlement and Rehabilitation
Hifikepunye Pohamba to be the next President.Pohamba was inaugurated in
March 2005 in conjunction with celebrations marking the country's fifteenth
anniversary.International and domestic observers agreed the 2004 elections
were generally free and well administered despite some irregularities.
Pohamba was elected President with 76.4% of the vote.SWAPO won 55 of the 72
elected seats in the National Assembly.Six opposition parties won a total of
17 seats, including the Congress of Democrats party, which won the largest
number of opposition votes; the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance; the National
Unity Democratic Organization; the United Democratic Front; the Republican
Party; and the Monitor Action Group.

Principal Government Officials
President--Hifikepunye Pohamba
Prime Minister--Nahas Angula
Deputy Prime Minister--Libertina Amathila
National Assembly Speaker--Theo-Ben Gurirab
National Council Chairperson--Asser Kapere
Minister of Foreign Affairs--Marco Hausiku
Minister of Defense--Major General Charles Namoloh
National Planning Commission Director--Helmut Angula
Namibia Central Intelligence Service Director--Lukas Hangula
Minister of Education--Nangolo Mbumba
Minister of Finance--Saara Kuugongelwa
Minister of Safety and Security--Peter Tsheehama
Minister of Trade and Industry--Immanuel Ngatjizeko
Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration--Rosalia Nghindinwa
Minister of Information and Broadcasting--Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah
Minister of Justice--Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana
Minster of Mines and Energy--Erkki Nghimtina
Minister of Labor and Social Welfare--Alpheus Naruseb
Minister of Health and Social Service--Richard Kamwi
Minister of Agriculture, Water, and Forestry--Nickey Iyambo
Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources--Abraham Iyambo
Minister of Environment and Tourism--Willem Konjore
Minister of Lands and Resettlement--Jerry Ekandjo
Minister of Regional and Local Government and Housing-- John Pandeni
Minister of Works, Transport and Communication-Joel Kaapanda
Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare--Marlene Mungunda
Minister of Youth and National Service--John Mutorwa
Ambassador to UN--Martin Andjaba
Ambassador to U.S.--Patrick Nandago

Namibia maintains an embassy in the United States at 1605 New Hampshire Ave.,
NW, Washington DC 20009 (tel: (202) 986-0540; fax: (202) 986-0443).

ECONOMY
The Namibian economy has a modern market sector, which produces most of the
country's wealth, and a traditional subsistence sector. Namibia's gross
domestic product (GDP) per capita is relatively high among developing
countries but obscures one of the most unequal income distributions on the
African continent. Although the majority of the population depends on
subsistence agriculture and herding, Namibia has more than 200,000 skilled
workers, as well as a small, well-trained professional and managerial class.

The country's sophisticated formal economy is based on capital-intensive
industry and farming. However, Namibia's economy is heavily dependent on the
earnings generated from primary commodity exports in a few vital sectors,
including minerals, livestock, and fish. Furthermore, the Namibian economy
remains integrated with the economy of South Africa, as the bulk of Namibia's
imports originate there.

Since independence, the Namibian Government has pursued free-market economic
principles designed to promote commercial development and job creation to
bring disadvantaged Namibians into the economic mainstream. To facilitate
this goal, the government has actively courted donor assistance and foreign
investment. The liberal Foreign Investment Act of 1990 provides for freedom
from nationalization, freedom to remit capital and profits, currency
convertibility, and a process for settling disputes equitably.

Namibia is part of the Common Monetary Area (CMA) comprising Lesotho,
Swaziland, and South Africa. Both the South African rand and the Namibian
dollar are legal tender in Namibia, but the Namibian dollar is not accepted
in South Africa. As a result of the CMA agreement, the scope for independent
monetary policy in Namibia is limited. The Bank of Namibia regularly follows
actions taken by the South African central bank.

Given its small domestic market but favorable location and a superb transport
and communications base, Namibia is a leading advocate of regional economic
integration. In addition to its membership in the Southern African
Development Community (SADC), Namibia presently belongs to the Southern
African Customs Union (SACU) with South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, and
Swaziland. Within SACU, no tariffs exist on goods produced in and moving
among the member states. SACU is currently negotiating a Free Trade Agreement
with the United States--the first of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa. The SACU
Secretariat is located in Windhoek.

Over 80% of Namibia's imports originate in South Africa, and many Namibian
exports are destined for the South African market or transit that country.
Outside of South Africa, the EU (primarily the U.K.) is the chief market for
Namibian exports. Namibia's exports consist mainly of diamonds and other
minerals, fish products, beef and meat products, grapes and light
manufactures. Under the U.S. African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA),
apparel exports are rapidly growing.

Namibia is seeking to diversify its trading relationships away from its heavy
dependence on South African goods and services. Europe has become a leading
market for Namibian fish and meat, while mining concerns in Namibia have
purchased heavy equipment and machinery from Germany, the United Kingdom, the
United States, and Canada. The Government of Namibia is actively taking
advantage ofAGOA, which will provide preferential access to U.S. markets for
a long list of products. Since early 2002 several apparel manufacturers have
invested in assembly facilities, generating thousands of jobs. At full
production, these apparel plants are expected to export on an annual basis
over $100 million worth of apparel products to the United States.

In 1993, Namibia became a General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)
signatory, and the Minister of Trade and Industry represented Namibia at the
Marrakech signing of the Uruguay Round Agreement in April 1994. Namibia has
been a member of the World Trade Organization since its creation in 1995 and
is a strong proponent of the Doha Development Agenda announced at the Fourth
Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, in November 2001. Namibia also is a
member of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and
participates in the European Union's Cotonou Agreement.

Mining and Energy
Mining contributed approximately 7% of GDP in 2003. Diamond mining activities
alone represented more than 5%. Diamond production totaled 1.5 million carats
in 2002, generating over $500 million in export earnings. Other important
mineral resources are uranium, copper, lead, and zinc. Anglo American's $454
million Skorpion zinc mine, which opened in 2003, is projected to produce
12,500 tons of pure zinc per month. The country also is a source of gold,
silver, tin, vanadium, semiprecious gemstones, tantalite, phosphate, sulfur,
and salt.

During the pre-independence period, large areas of Namibia, including
offshore, were leased for oil prospecting. Natural gas was discovered in 1974
in the Kudu Field off the mouth of the Orange River.The field is thought to
contain reserves of over 1.3 trillion cubic feet.A decision to develop the
field or not was expected in 2005.Offshore exploration licenses havebeen
issued. Plans have been put forward to build the country's first combined
cycle power station near Oranjemund. Government officials have warned that
in the absence of new domestic sources of energy, Namibia will face power
shortages as early as 2007.

Agriculture
Although Namibian agriculture--excluding fishing--contributed less than 5% of
Namibia's GDP in 2003, about 70% of the Namibian population depends on
agricultural activities for livelihood, mostly in the subsistence sector. In
2003, food and live animal exports constituted roughly 15% of total Namibian
exports.

In the largely white-dominated commercial sector, agriculture consists
primarily of livestock ranching. Cattle raising is predominant in the central
and northern regions, while karakul sheep, goat, and ostrich farming are
concentrated in the more arid southern regions. Subsistence farming is
confined to the "communal lands" of the country's populous north, where
roaming cattle herds are prevalent and the main crops are millet, sorghum,
corn, and peanuts. Table grapes, grown mostly along the Orange River in the
country's arid south, are becoming an increasingly important commercial crop
and a significant employer of seasonal labor.

The government's land reform policy is shaped by two key pieces of
legislation: the Agricultural (Commercial) Land Reform Act 6 of 1995 and the
Communal Land Reform Act 5 of 2002.The government remains committed to a
"willing seller, willing buyer" approach to land reform and to providing just
compensation as directed by the Namibian constitution. As the government
addresses the vital land and range management questions, water use issues and
availability are considered.

Fishing
The clean, cold South Atlantic waters off the coast of Namibia are home to
some of the richest fishing grounds in the world, with the potential for
sustainable yields of up to 1.5 million metric tons per year. Commercial
fishing and fish processing is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the
Namibian economy in terms of employment, export earnings, and contribution to
GDP.

The main species found in abundance off Namibia are pilchards (sardines),
anchovy, hake, and horse mackerel. There also are smaller but significant
quantities of sole, squid, deep-sea crab, rock lobster, and tuna. However, at
the time of independence, fish stocks had fallen to dangerously low levels
due to the lack of protection and conservation of the fisheries and the
overexploitation of these resources. This trend appears to have been halted
and reversed since independence, as the Namibian Government is now pursuing a
conservative resource management policy along with an aggressive fisheries
enforcement campaign.

Manufacturing and Infrastructure
In 2004, Namibia's manufacturing sector contributed about 11% of GDP.
Namibian manufacturing has historically been inhibited by a small domestic
market, dependence on imported goods, limited supply of local capital, widely
dispersed population, small skilled labor force and high relative wage rates,
and subsidized competition from South Africa. As of early 2004, AGOA had
brought close to $300 million in investment and over 9,000 jobs in the
textile industry.

Walvis Bay has a well-developed, deepwater port, considered by many the best
in Western Africa, and Namibia's fishing infrastructure is most heavily
concentrated there. The Namibian Government expects Walvis Bay to become an
important commercial gateway to the Southern African region.

Namibia also boasts modern civil aviation facilities and an extensive,
well-maintained land transportation network. Construction continues to expand
two major arteries--the Trans-Caprivi and Trans-Kalahari Highways--which will
further open up the region's access to Walvis Bay.

Tourism
Tourism is a rapidly growing sector of the Namibian economy and a significant
generator of employment. It is the third-largest source of foreign exchange
after mining and fisheries. Although the majority of Namibia's international
visitors originate in the region, other international travelers are
increasingly attracted by the country's unique mix of political stability,
cultural diversity, and geographic beauty. Tourism in Namibia has had a
positive impact on resource conservation and rural development. Some 29
communal conservancies have been established across the country, resulting in
enhanced land management while providing tens of thousands of rural Namibians
with much needed income.

Labor
While most Namibians are economically active in one form or another, the bulk
of this activity is in the informal sector, primarily subsistence
agriculture. In the formal economy, official estimates of unemployment range
from 30% to 40% of the work force. A large number of Namibians seeking jobs
in the formal sector are held back due to a lack of necessary skills or
training. The government is aggressively pursuing education reform to address
this problem.

Namibia's largest labor federation, the National Union of Namibian Workers
(NUNW) represents workers organized into seven affiliated trade unions. NUNW
maintains a close affiliation with the ruling SWAPO party.

In late 2004, Namibia passed a new "Labour Act" to replace legislation dating
back to 1992. The law was to be stricter with respect to discrimination in
the workplace and was to establish new protections for pregnant workers as
well as employees infected with HIV/AIDS.

NATIONAL SECURITY
The constitution defines the role of the military as "defending the territory
and national interests." Following independence, Namibia formed the National
Defense Force (NDF), comprised of former enemies in a 23-year bush war, the
PLAN and South West African territorial force. The British formulated the
force integration plan and began training the NDF, which consists of five
battalions and a small headquarters element. The UNTAG Kenyan infantry
battalion remained in Namibia for 3 months after independence to assist in
training the NDF and stabilize the north. According to the Namibian Defense
Ministry, enlistments of both men and women will number no more than 7,500.
The NDF has a modest air wing and a maritime wing. Namibia has contributed
900 troops to UN peacekeeping efforts in Liberia.

Namibia has had defense cooperation at various levels with several countries,
including the United States. It also participates in regional peacekeeping
efforts. The U.S. does not have an Article 98 agreement with Namibia.

FOREIGN RELATIONS
Namibia follows a largely independent foreign policy, with lingering
affiliations with states that aided the independence struggle, including
Libya, the People's Republic of China, and Cuba.

Namibia is developing trade and strengthening economic and political ties
within the Southern African region. A dynamic member of the Southern African
Development Community and the Southern African Customs Union, Namibia is a
vocal advocate for greater regional integration.

Namibia became the 160th member of the United Nations on April 23, 1990, and
the 50th member of the British Commonwealth upon independence.

U.S.-NAMIBIAN RELATIONS
U.S.-Namibian relations are good and continue to improve. Characterized by
shared democratic values, commitment to rule of law, and respect for human
rights, the bilateral relationship has been strengthened through trade ties
and U.S. assistance programs. Namibia has seized opportunities created by
AGOA and is currently involved in negotiating a Free Trade Agreement between
the U.S. and the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). Namibia has been
included in President Bush's International Mother and Child HIV Initiative
and the Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. The U.S. Agency for International
Development's (USAID) bilateral presence in Namibia has been extended until
2010. In addition to the Embassy, the Centers for Disease Control, Peace
Corps, and the Defense Departments have offices in Windhoek.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials
Ambassador--Joyce A. Barr
Deputy Chief of Mission--Eric D. Benjaminson
Public Affairs Officer--Ray Castillo
Political Officer--Mark J. Cassayre
Economic/Commercial Officer--Adrienne Galanek
Consular Officer--John La Rochelle
USAID Director--Gary Newton
Defense Attache--LTC Michael Kelley, USAF
Peace Corps Country Director--Hannah Baldwin

The U.S. Embassy in Namibia is located at 14 Lossen Street, Windhoek
(tel.61-295-8554).

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emergency and will enable you to receive up-to-date information on security
conditions.

Emergency information concerning Americans traveling abroad may be obtained
by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada or the regular
toll line 1-202-501-4444 for callers outside the U.S. and Canada.

The National Passport Information Center (NPIC) is the U.S. Department of
State's single, centralized public contact center for U.S. passport
information. Telephone: 1-877-4USA-PPT (1-877-487-2778). Customer service
representatives and operators for TDD/TTY are available Monday-Friday, 7:00
a.m. to 12:00 midnight, Eastern Time, excluding federal holidays.

Travelers can check the latest health information with the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. A hotline at 877-FYI-TRIP
(877-394-8747) and a web site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel/index.htm give the
most recent health advisories, immunization recommendations or requirements,
and advice on food and drinking water safety for regions and countries. A
booklet entitled "Health Information for International Travel" (HHS
publication number CDC-95-8280) is available from the U.S. Government
Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402, tel. (202) 512-1800.

Further Electronic Information
Department of State Web Site. Available on the Internet at http://
www.state.gov, the Department of State web site provides timely, global
access to official U.S. foreign policy information, including Background
Notes and daily press briefings along with the directory of key officers of
Foreign Service posts and more. The Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC)
provides security information and regional news that impact U.S. companies
working abroad through its website http://www.osac.gov

Export.gov provides a portal to all export-related assistance and market
information offered by the federal government and provides trade leads, free
export counseling, help with the export process, and more.
STAT-USA/Internet, a service of the U.S. Department of Commerce, provides
authoritative economic, business, and international trade information from
the Federal government. The site includes current and historical
trade-related releases, international market research, trade opportunities,
and country analysis and provides access to the National Trade Data Bank. ***********************************************************
See http://www.state.gov/r/pa/bgn/ for all Background notes
************************************************************
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