Overview

  • Namibia is largely desert, ranchland with a long coastline on the South Atlantic, and borders South Africa, Botswana and Angola. The country’s natural mineral riches and tiny population of about 2.5 million (2016) have made it an upper-middle-income country. Political stability and sound economic management have helped anchor poverty reduction, however this has not yet been accompanied by job creation, and extreme socio-economic inequalities inherited from the years it was run as under an apartheid system still persist, despite generous public spending on social programs.

    Real economic activity contracted by 1% in 2017, registering a contraction for four consecutive quarters. The continuation of the fiscal consolidation process led domestic consumption to stall. This process was done mostly through reduction in the capital expenditures that affected most sectors of the economy, especially construction and tertiary sector activities.

    A positive signal for the Namibian economy came from the mining and agricultural activities. The mining sector activity increased by more than 15% on annual basis in 2017, due to the higher diamond and uranium production. The diamond production in 2017 has expended by more than 10% and reflects the base effect from the previous year when some of the offshore diamond extraction vessels were closed due to regular maintenance. The uranium production increased by more than 25% in 2017 and this is mostly a result of the start-up of operation of the Husab mine. The agricultural production also rebounded in 2017 from the previous droughts with a solid growth of 5%.

    Economic growth is expected to restore very gradually in 2018, projected to 0.7%, and will reach up to 2% over the medium term. Medium-term recovery will be driven by the mining activity, especially uranium, as the Husab mine ramps up its production capacitary despite the currently low uranium pries. The increase of uranium production and exports is in line with the expectations of the gradual increase of the global demand and prices for uranium. Diamond production is projected to continue to expand, but with lower than today’s pace due to reduced production and expected closure of some of the onshore diamond mines as they deplete their reserves.

    Despite recent policy correction, Moody’s and Fitch have downgraded Namibia’s sovereign credit rating due to the overall deterioration of the macroeconomic and fiscal position in recent years.

    Development Challenges

    Namibia’s relatively strong economic growth has not been enough to deal with its levels of poverty, inequality, and unemployment. By the national poverty line (N$377.96), poor Namibians made up 28.7% of the total population in 2009/10, a drop of 9.0 percentage points from 37.7% in 2003/04.

    Challenges to poverty reduction include slowing economic growth; adverse weather patterns, high inequality, and high unemployment. Typically, female headed households, the less educated, larger families, children and the elderly, and laborers in subsistence farming, are particularly prone to poverty. The poverty rate, based on the international $1.90 (PPP terms) poverty line, is projected to increase marginally to 15.4% in 2018 and stagnate to 15.5% in 2019 and 2020.

    Namibia’s government continues to exercise the requisite leadership in developing and financing the policies it needs to address its development challenges, policies such as the Harambee Prosperity Plan, and the fifth National Development Plan. Program implementation and delivery of public services lags behind and undermines sound policies.

    Last Updated: Oct 10, 2018

  • The World Bank Strategy for Namibia consists of two pillars focusing on:

    State Capacity

    • Economic management
    • Environment and natural resource management
    • Statistical capacity
    • Health and nutrition

    Private sector Development

    • Institutional environment for a competitive private sector
    • Investments in productive capacity and infrastructure

    The Performance and Learning Review (PLR) of the Country Partnership Strategy was considered by Board in FY18.  

    The PLR found that originally planned activities have now been delivered successfully for the most part and the experience has prompted the Namibian Government to request WBG cooperation for additional activities within the existing CPS focus areas, which are fully aligned with the priorities laid out in the government’s NDP5 (2017/18-2021/22). Given this development and noting that the new requested activities will deepen cooperation in key areas for Namibia’s development such as transport, financial sector strengthening and health, the PLR proposes to extend CPS implementation through FY20. Such an extension would also align a follow-on CPF to the next electoral cycle, which are scheduled for the last quarter of 2019.

    Last Updated: Oct 10, 2018

  • The Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) FY14–FY17 has delivered on most of the planned advisory activities within its limited program and achieved some important results. Knowledge services and technical assistance (TA) were funded mainly by Trust Funds (TFs), such as the Institutional Development Fund (IDF), the Trust Fund for Statistical Capacity Building (TFSCB), and the Financial Sector Reform and Strengthening Initiative (FIRST).

    Under Pillar 1, delivery of CPS products and results has been strong, including in economic management (debt management, budget transparency, procurement and public-private partnership legal framework), statistical capacity building and poverty analysis. The report on fiscal policy and inequality jointly produced by the Namibia Statistical Agency and the World Bank in FY17 received wide attention from policymakers and the media.

    Under Pillar 2, the pace of deliveries has been good in the competitive private sector program area (financial sector, investment climate, competition), and substantial progress was made in the infrastructure program, which mainly featured activities of IFC and MIGA.

    Last Updated: Oct 10, 2018

  • Namibia became a member of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) in 1990.

    Last Updated: Oct 10, 2018

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LENDING

Namibia: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments


PHOTO GALLERY

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Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Main Office Contact
442 Rodericks Street
Lynnwood Road
Tshwane 0081
+27-12-742-3100
For general information and inquiries
Zandi Ratshitanga
Communications Officer
South Africa
+27-12-742-3107
zratshitanga@worldbank.org
For project-related issues and complaints
namibiaalert@worldbank.org