Namibia has a small, open economy which is largely dependent on the extraction, and limited processing, of minerals for the export market.
Namibia produces gem-quality diamonds and is the fourth largest producer of uranium in the world. It also produces zinc, gold, copper and other non-fuel minerals. Although the extractive industry, which is highly capital intensive, accounts for a third of export revenue, it provides direct employment to only an estimated 1.8 percent of the labour force.
Mining and quarrying currently (2012) account for 11.5 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), representing a rise from the 2011 figure of 8.2 percent, but significantly lower than the 2008 (pre-global economic crisis) figure of 16.1 percent. This highlights the sensitivity of the primary sector to external shocks. Overall in 2012, primary industries accounted for 18.5 percent of GDP, secondary industries for 17.6 percent with tertiary industries accounting for 57.0 percent of GDP.
Namibia exports mostly diamonds (25 percent of total exports), uranium, lead, zinc, tin, silver, tungsten, food and animals on hoof, and manufactured products predominantly to South Africa (27 percent of total exports), the United Kingdom (17 percent of total exports), the USA, Angola, the Netherlands and Spain. It imports food products, petroleum products and fuel, machinery and equipment and chemicals, mainly from South Africa (66 percent of total imports), followed by the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and China.
Data sourced from: NSA (2013a) Namibia Labour Force Survey 2012 Report, NSA (2013b) Preliminary National Accounts 2012