Country overview

Country Overview


Country Overview

© UNICEFNamibia/Moreno

Introductory Information

After decades of struggle, and under the auspices of the United Nations, Namibia held its first free and fair elections in 1989. The United Nations Resolution 435 calling for decolonization of Namibia had been adopted by the Security Council in 1978 but it took over a decade more of armed struggle and political negotiations to implement. The elected representatives of the Constituent Assembly drafted Namibia’s constitution and Sam Nujoma, the long-serving head of SWAPO, was elected as the first president of the Republic of Namibia. Independence was formally declared on 21 March 1990, signalling an end to more than 100 years of colonial rule, initially under Germany from 1884 and then South Africa from 1915.  In March 1994, South Africa ceded its control of Walvis Bay to Namibia. The current President Hifikepunye Pohamba (from the SWAPO Party) was elected in 2005 and is serving his second term which ends in 2014. 

Key Indicators

© UNICEFNamibia/Moreno

“Born Free” Generation


Today, those of Namibia’s young people that reached the voting age stand in the spotlight as the “born free” generation, a generation never exposed to the oppression of apartheid. With this privilege comes responsibility. Great things are expected of this generation. President Hifikepunye Pohamba spoke recently in recognition of this, encouraging young people to aspire high and give unstintingly of their energies in building the nation.


Progress has taken place in Namibia on many economic and social fronts since independence, but significant obstacles currently block the country’s path to development. Major amongst these is the devastating impact on families, communities and workforces of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Across the country more than 250,000 children are classified as orphaned and vulnerable.


Is known that poverty is an underlying cause of the high rates of prevalence and it is understandable the relationship of this to the country’s high rates of unemployment, estimated on 51.2 percent.


Unemployment and low self-worth are often answerable for the disaffection that leads adults as well as young people to abuse alcohol as they seek distraction from despair. Alcohol abuse, in turn, undoubtedly contributes to the surge in violence which is being witnessed, as women and children suffer brutalizing assaults.


All this means Namibia faces many challenges, but also that tremendous opportunities exist to make the most of youth’s potential contribution to nation-building and helping to make the needed rapid progress forward.



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