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Country information: Namibia





AT A GLANCE

Area

825.418 square kilometres

Population

2,11 million (July 2009)

Capital city

Windhoek (240.000 inhabitants 2006)

Official language

English (other languages: Afrikaans 60% and German)

GDP per capita (PPP)

US$ 5 400 (2008)

Population growth

1 per cent (2009)

Life expectancy

51,2 years (men: 51,6 years, women: 50,9 years) (2009)

Infant mortality

45,5 per 1 000 live births (2009)

Rate of illiteracy

15% (2007)

 


DESTINATION NAMIBIA

Tourism

The tourism sector in Namibia is growing and has become one of the most important sources of foreign earnings for the country. Receipts from the tourism sector have become essential for the efforts to solve the country's economic problems. From 2001 to 2002, tourism increased 13 percent, despite rising prices. According to UNWTO in 2003, approximately 695,000 guests visited the country. The revenues of tourism are known for the year 2005. This year the tourism brought 279 million Euro into the country. The number of tourists from Europe increased by 15 percent. Package tourists and individual travellers come mainly from Western Europe and North America, but also from the neighbouring countries. A main attraction is the varied animal life of Namibia.


 

Commercial sexual exploitation of children in tourism

Expanding tourism, together with other factors, has led to a growth of the leisure infrastructure. This has been accompanied by increases in cases of prostitution and trafficking in humans. Prostitution is also boosted by the impoverishment of large parts of the population. Some children fall for the promises of well-paid jobs and are lured into sexual exploitation. Studies show that the extent of child prostitution, organised trade in children and abuse within the extended family have all previously been underestimated. According to these studies, every third girl and every fifth boy has been sexually abused before reaching the age of 18. Fear of an HIV infection plays an important role. There is a widely-held belief among men and women that children become infected with HIV less easily, and that sexual intercourse with virgin children has a cleaning and healing effect. Some local "miracle healers" recommend this to HIV-infected men as a cure. For the children the consequences can be fatal. Their immune systems are often already weakened by poverty, and risk of infection is particularly high if they are forced into sexual intercourse with adults since in addition to mental harm they frequently also suffer severe physical damage.

 

With the growth in demand for prostitution, there has also been a growth in human trade. Children living in the border areas are sometimes abducted to neighbouring states, in order to serve the migrant workers there as prostitutes.

 

Namibia ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on September 30, 1990, and has undertaken to protect children against all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse.


 

HIV / Aids 

According to estimates by UNAIDS and the World Health Organisation, 200.000 people in Namibia were infected with HIV in 2007, including 110.000 women and 14.000 children. In the same year, 14.000 Namibians died following infection with HIV. About 9,5 per cent of the population (actually 10,3 per cent of grown-up between 15 and 49 years) are infected by this virus. The southern Africa is deemed to be the region with the highest prevalence rates of HIV in the world.


 

Local Contacts

 

 

UNICEF Namibia

P.O.Box 1706

Windhoek, Namibia

Phone: +264 61 204 6111

Fax: +264 61 204 6206

E-mail:

nmbregistry@unicef.org

CIVILIZATION AND CULTURE

State and society

Namibia is a presidential republic. The President is head of state and head of government, and the parliament consists of a National Assembly and a National Council. Namibia was the last African country to reach independence on 21st March 1990. Since 2005, head of state and head of government has been Hifikepunye Pohamba from the SWAPO party; he succeeded Dr. Sam Nujoma, who had held the position for the previous 14 years and is also a member of SWAPO.

 

The population consists mainly of Bantu peoples - the largest group being the Ovambo (Ambo) living in the north, in addition there are Herero, Tswana, Bergdama, Nama and San (Bushmen). 6.4 per cent of the population are White. In all there are 11 different ethnic groups in Namibia, each with its own culture and history. One third of the population lives in the towns and cities. The Namibian Government's policy of "One Namibia - One Nation" aims at bringing these groups closer together. 87 per cent of the population are Christian, the remainder adhere to natural religions.

 

In Namibia there is compulsory schooling until the age of 16. There are still traces of Apartheid to be overcome in the educational system, but shortage of state funds is obstructing reforms.

 

The Namibian constitution provides for sexual equality and obliges the government to adopt an active policy of gender equality. According to this, married couples also have equal rights. This law was passed through parliament against some resistance and came into force in 1996. In 1997 a detailed White Paper was published on "Gender Policy".


 

Economy

The mining industry is the most important sector of the economy. In addition to ore processing, animal husbandry, fish and meat processing play important roles.

 


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