Namibia Energy and Environment Facts

Natural resources and energy

Namibia has among the largest deposits of diamonds and uranium in the world. There are also plenty of other minerals. A gas field outside the Orange River estuary hopes to provide improved electricity supply.

In addition to diamonds and uranium, there are rich resources, including copper, lead, zinc, gold, silver and tin. Furthermore, there are valuable rocks such as marble. In 1980, the mining sector accounted for half of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), but the share has dropped to a little more than a tenth. However, the minerals still generate more than half of the export revenue.

  • COUNTRYAAH: Major exports by Namibia with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.

Diamonds, which are of the highest quality, are found mainly in the Namib Desert and on the seabed in the south. Namibia developed during the 1990s the world’s first large-scale diamond mining at greater depths, up to 120 meters below sea level.

In Rössing, 10 miles from Walvis Bay, there is the world’s largest mine for uranium extraction. However, the uranium is of relatively low quality. In the Langer Heinrich mine, which was inaugurated in 2007 near Rössing, the uranium is of significantly higher quality. Plans are underway to open another couple of uranium mines. Namibia is the world’s fourth-fifth largest uranium producer.

  • Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, NA stands for Namibia. Visit itypeusa for more information about Namibia.

Oil resources were found in 2011 off the southern coast of Namibia, but unlike the first reports, they proved not profitable to recover.

As early as the 1970s, a large natural gas field was found outside the mouth of the Orange River in the south. A decision was taken in 2005 to extract gas and build a gas power plant in Oranjemund, but the development has been slow. The power plant is scheduled to make Namibia self-sufficient in electricity. Otherwise, electricity shortages threaten.

So far, well over half of the electricity consumed is imported, mainly from South Africa. The domestic electricity comes mainly from the Ruacana hydroelectric plant at the Kunene border in the north. Discussions on extracting hydroelectric power from the Okavango River have also raised concerns about the unique nature of the Okavango Delta in Botswana (see Foreign Policy and Defense).

The water shortage is a problem that is exacerbated by the move into the cities and the expansion of the water-demanding mining industry.

Nearly half of the land area – including the nearly 160-mile coastal strip – is under some form of nature protection.


Energy use per person

752 kilos of oil equivalent (2014)

Electricity consumption per person

1564 kWh, kWh (2014)

Carbon dioxide emissions in total

3 755 thousand tonnes (2014)

Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant

1.6 tonnes (2014)

The share of energy from renewable sources

26.5 percent (2015)



Long prison sentence for those involved in the coup attempt

The 30 men found guilty of treason (see September) are collectively sentenced in groups, depending on the degree of responsibility, to prisoners of between 30 and 225 years. Those who received the shortest sentence will in practice be served 18 years (see also Modern history and Political system).


Swapo wins by a large margin

The Swapo government demonstrates its total control over the country’s politics by winning in 113 of the 121 constituencies in the nationwide municipal and regional elections. For the first time, the party gains power in all 14 regional boards. Swapo also strengthens the grip on the 57 municipal councils, including Windhoek and Walvis Bay.


Judgment in due course

30 people are convicted of treason, murder and attempted murder for a failed attempt in 1999 to break the Caprivi strip from Namibia. In total, more than 100 people have been prosecuted on a total of 278 points in the trial that has been going on for 16 years. Eight people were killed when a rebel force attacked a number of buildings in central Katima Mulilo. Over the years, dozens of defendants have been released afterwards and several have died in prison. At the end of the trial, 35 people were released. The convicted are at risk of life imprisonment.


The government’s process should reduce the housing shortage

The Government concludes an agreement with the Affirmative Repositioning Action Group (see February 2015) on a process to create 200,000 new plots in the country’s cities. The government also plans to build affordable housing for people living in shelters and other temporary housing on occupied land. President Geingob further suggests that it may be relevant to expropriate land from farms around the capital. With the agreement, activists abolish their threat of nationwide land occupations.


26 countries are included in free trade agreements

Namibia and 25 other countries agree on a new free trade agreement, Tripartite free trade area, which covers half of Africa, from Egypt in the north to South Africa in the south. However, before the agreement can come into force, negotiations are required and the agreement is approved by the parliaments of the countries.


The presidential couple reports on their assets

President Geingob and his wife Monica report their financial assets, to promote transparency and accountability – and urge other authorities to do the same.


Swapo switches leaders

Ex-President Hifikepunye Pohamba resigns as party chairman for the Swapo government party. The country’s newly-appointed president Hage Geingob becomes acting party leader.


Hage Geingbo takes over as president

Hage Geingbo will take over as president on March 21. In connection with the accession, he presents his new government, with Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila as prime minister.

Pohamba wins the prize for democracy

Outgoing President Hifikepunye Pohamba receives the Mo Ibrahim Prize for African Leadership. The prize is awarded to someone who is considered to have stood for democratic values.


Action group sets ultimatum

An Action Group for Land Rights, Affirmative Repositioning (about Yes for relocation) states that 50,000 people have submitted a request to the authorities to obtain land. The group gives the government until 31 July to handle the applications. If nothing happens, activists threaten to take matters into their own hands and occupy land across the country.


Hundreds of people protest against housing shortages

More than 1,000 people occupy an uninhabited area in the port city of Swakopmund. The occupants say they have grown tired of waiting for the government to fulfill their promises and provide them with land where they can build housing. The land that is occupied is earmarked for cheap housing but nothing has happened for several years. The housing shortage is a major problem in Namibia and the government has invested in a program that will render 100,000 new housing for 15 years.

Namibia Energy and Environment Facts

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