Background on Namibia

Background on Namibia

Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia, is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east.

Namibia is a clean, safe, relatively modern nation with the lowest population density and second- highest per-capita income in Sub-Sahara Africa. In the European colonial era, it was known as German Southwest Africa. During the First World War it was taken over by South Africa, which retained the area as a "protectorate" until a guerrilla war and U.N. pressures led to Namibian independence in 1991. The nation was named for the Namib Desert, the world's oldest desert and surely among the most beautiful.

The primary sources of income are diamond and mineral mining, livestock and game ranching, commercial fishing, and tourism, with a majority of visitors coming from German-speaking countries. The official language is English, which is widely spoken in the cities and towns. There are more than a dozen tribal languages reflecting the diverse tribal backgrounds of Namibia's population. Because Namibia was controlled by South Africa for seventy years, it has a good infrastructure with excellent roads, a modern international airport at the capital Windhoek and a reliable electrical power grid. Namibia has a population of 2.1 million people and a stable multi-party parliamentary democracy. Agriculture, herding, tourism and the mining industry – including mining for gem diamonds, uranium, gold, silver, and base metals – form the basis of Namibia's economy.

Given the presence of the arid Namib Desert, it is one of the least densely populated countries in the world. Namibia enjoys high political, economic and social stability.
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