U.S. Department of State
Background Notes: Namibia, April 1995
Bureau of African Affairs


Prepared and released by the Bureau of African Affairs,
Office of Southern African Affairs

April 1995
Official Name: Republic of Namibia

PROFILE

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Namibian(s). 
Population (1995 est.): 1.6 million. 
Annual growth rate (1995 est.): 3.4%. 
Ethnic groups: Black 87%; White 6%; mixed race 7%. 
Religions: Predominantly Christian; also indigenous beliefs. 
Languages: English is the official language of Namibia; Afrikaans, 
German, and various indigenous languages also are spoken. 
Education: Years compulsory--to age 16. Attendance--whites nearly 
100%; others 16%. Literacy--whites nearly 100%; others 30%. 
Work force: Est. 200,000 in 1992.

Geography

Area: 823,145 sq. km. (320,827 sq. mi.); the size of Texas and 
Louisiana combined. 
Cities: Capital--Windhoek (1991) pop. 160,000. Other cities--
Keetmanshoop, Luderitz, Oranjemund, Oshakati, Otjivarongo, 
Swakopmund, Tsumeb, Walvis Bay. 
Terrain: Varies from coastal desert to semiarid mountains and plateau. 
Climate: Semi-desert and high plateau.

Government 

Type: Republic as of March 21, 1990.
Branches: Executive--President (elected for 5-year term). Legislative--
bicameral: National Assembly (78 members) and the National Council 
(26 members). Judicial--Supreme Court, the High Court, and lower 
courts.
Subdivisions: 13 administrative regions. 
Major political parties: South West Africa People's Organization 
(SWAPO), Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA), United Democratic 
Front of Namibia (UDF), Democratic Coalition of Namibia (DCN), 
Monitor Action Group (MAG). 
Suffrage: Universal adult.

Economy

GDP (1994): $5.8 billion. 
Annual growth rate (1994): 5.8%. 
Per capita GDP (1994): $3,600.
Inflation rate (1994): 11%.
Natural resources: diamonds, copper, gold, uranium, lead, tin, zinc, 
salt, vanadium, fisheries, and wildlife.
Agriculture (8% of GDP in 1993): Products--beef , karakul (sheep) 
pelts, wool, other meat, fish.
Mining (18% of GDP in 1993): Gem-quality diamonds, other.
Trade: Exports (1993)--$1.3 billion: diamonds, copper, lead, uranium, 
beef, cattle, fish, karakul pelts. Imports (1993)--$1.1 billion: food 
stuffs, construction material, manufactured goods. Major partners--
South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Germany, UK, US.
Official exchange rate: (1994): 3.5 Namibia dollars=U.S. $1. 

PEOPLE

Africans are of diverse ethnic origins. The principal groups are the 
Ovambo, Kavango, Herero/Himba, Damara, mixed race ("Colored" 
and Rehoboth Baster), white (Afrikaner, German, and Portuguese), 
Nama, Caprivian (Lozi), Bushman, and Tswana. 

The Ovambo make up about half of Namibia's people. The Ovambo, 
Kavango, and East Caprivian peoples, who occupy the relatively well-
watered and wooded northern part of the country, are settled farmers 
and herders. Historically, they have shown little interest in the central 
and southern parts of Namibia, where conditions do not suit their 
traditional way of life.

Until the early 1900s, these tribes had little contact with the Nama, 
Damara, and Herero, who roamed the central part of the country vying 
for control of sparse pastureland. German colonial rule destroyed the 
war-making ability of the tribes but did not erase their identities or 
traditional organization. People from the more populous north have 
settled throughout the country in recent decades as a result of 
urbanization, industrialization, and the demand for labor.

The modern mining, farming, and industrial sectors of the economy, 
controlled by the white minority, have affected traditional African 
society without transforming it. Urban and migratory workers have 
adopted Western ways, but in rural areas, traditional society remains 
intact.

Missionary work during the 1800s drew many Namibians to 
Christianity. While most Namibian Christians are Lutheran, there are 
also Roman Catholic, Methodist, Anglican, African Methodist 
Episcopal, and Dutch Reformed Christians represented.

Modern education and medical care have been extended in varying 
degrees to most rural areas in recent years. The literacy rate of Africans 
is generally low except in sections where missionary and government 
education efforts have been concentrated, such as Ovamboland. The 
Africans speak various indigenous languages.

The minority white population is primarily of South African, British, 
and German descent. About 60% of the whites speak Afrikaans (a 
variation of Dutch); 30% speak German; and 10% speak English.

HISTORY

Bushmen (or San) are generally assumed to have been the earliest 
inhabitants of the region. Later inhabitants include the Nama and the 
Damara or Berg Dama. The Bantu-speaking Ovambo and Herero 
migrated from the north in about the 14th century A.D.

The inhospitable Namib Desert constituted a formidable barrier to 
European exploration until the late 18th century, when successions of 
travelers, traders, hunters, and missionaries explored the area. The 
1878, the United Kingdom annexed Walvis Bay on behalf of Cape 
Colony, and the area was incorporated into the Cape of Good Hope in 
1884. In 1883, a German trader, Adolf Luderitz, claimed the rest of the 
coastal region after negotiations with a local chief. Negotiations 
between the United Kingdom and Germany resulted in Germany's 
annexation of the coastal region, excluding Walvis Bay. The following 
year, the United Kingdom recognized the hinterland up to 20o east 
longitude as a German sphere of influence. A region, Caprivi Strip, 
became a part of South West Africa after an agreement on July 1, 1890, 
between the United Kingdom and Germany. The British recognized 
that the strip would fall under German administration to provide access 
to the Zambezi River and German colonies in East Africa. In exchange, 
the British received the islands of Zanzibar and Heligoland.

German colonial power was consolidated, and prime grazing land 
passed to white control as a result of the Herero and Nama wars of 
1904-08. German administration ended during World War I following 
South African occupation in 1915.

On December 17, 1920, South Africa undertook administration of 
South West Africa under the terms of Article 22 of the Covenant of the 
League of Nations and a mandate agreement by the League Council. 
The mandate agreement gave South Africa full power of administration 
and legislation over the territory. It required that South Africa promote 
the material and moral well being and social progress of the people.

When the League of Nations was dissolved in 1946, the newly formed 
United Nations inherited its supervisory authority for the territory. 
South Africa refused UN requests place the territory under a trusteeship 
agreement. During the 1960s, as the European powers granted 
independence to their colonies and trust territories in Africa, pressure 
mounted on South Africa to do so in Namibia, which was then South 
West Africa. In 1966, the UN General Assembly revoked South 
Africa's mandate.

Also in 1966, the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) 
began guerrilla attacks on Namibia, infiltrating the territory from bases 
in Zambia. After Angola became independent in 1975, SWAPO 
established bases in the southern part of the country. Hostilities 
intensified over the years, especially in Ovamboland.

In a 1971 advisory opinion, the International Court of Justice upheld 
UN authority over Namibia, determining that the South African 
presence in Namibia was illegal and that South Africa therefore was 
obligated to withdraw its administration from Namibia immediately. 
The Court also advised UN member states to refrain from implying 
legal recognition or assistance to the South African presence.

International Pressure for Independence

In 1977, Western members of the UN Security Council, including 
Canada, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, the United 
Kingdom, and the United States (known as the Western Contact 
Group), launched a joint diplomatic effort to bring an internationally 
acceptable transition to independence for Namibia. Their efforts led to 
the presentation in April 1978 of Security Council Resolution 435 for 
settling the Namibian problem. The proposal, known as the UN Plan, 
was worked out after lengthy consultations with South Africa, the 
front-line states (Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, 
and Zimbabwe), SWAPO, UN officials, and the Western Contact 
Group. It called for the holding of elections in Namibia under UN 
supervision and control, the cessation of all hostile acts by all parties, 
and restrictions on the activities of South African and Namibian 
military, paramilitary, and police.

South Africa agreed to cooperate in achieving the implementation of 
Resolution 435. Nonetheless, in December 1978, in defiance of the UN 
proposal, it unilaterally held elections in Namibia which were 
boycotted by SWAPO and a few other political parties. South Africa 
continued to administer Namibia through its installed multi-racial 
coalitions. Negotiations after 1978 focused on issues such as 
supervision of elections connected with the implementation of the UN 
Plan.

Negotiations and Transition

Intense discussions between the concerned parties continued during the 
1978-88 period, with the UN Secretary General's Special 
Representative, Martti Ahtisaari, playing a key role. The 1982 
Constitutional Principles, agreed upon by the front-line states, 
SWAPO, and the Western Contact Group created the framework for 
Namibia's democratic constitution. The U.S. Government's role as 
mediator was critical throughout the period, one example being the 
intense efforts in 1984 to obtain withdrawal of South African defense 
forces from Southern Angola.

In May 1988, a U.S. mediation team, headed by Assistant Secretary of 
State for African Affairs Chester A. Crocker, brought negotiators from 
Angola, Cuba, and South Africa, and observers from the Soviet Union 
together in London. Intense diplomatic maneuvering characterized the 
next 7 months, as the parties worked out agreements to bring peace to 
the region and make implementation of UN Security Council 
Resolution 435 possible. On December 13, Cuba, South Africa, and the 
People's Republic of Angola agreed to a total Cuban troop withdrawal 
from Angola. The protocol also established a Joint Commission, 
consisting of the parties with the United States and the Soviet Union as 
observers, to oversee implementation of the accords. A bilateral 
agreement between Cuba and the People's Republic of Angola was 
signed in New York on December 22, 1988. On the same day a 
tripartite agreement, in which the parties recommended initiation of the 
UN Plan on April 1 and the Republic of South Africa agreed to 
withdraw its troops, was signed. Implementation of Resolution 435 
officially began on April 1, 1989, when South African-appointed 
Administrator General Louis Pienaar officially began administrating 
the territory's transition to independence. Special Representative Martti 
Ahtisaari arrived in Windhoek to begin performing his duties as head 
of the UN Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG).

The transition got off to a shaky start on April 1 because, in 
contravention to SWAPO President Sam Nujoma's written assurances 
to the UN Secretary General to abide by a cease-fire and repatriate only 
unarmed insurgents, approximately 2,000 armed members of the 
People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN), SWAPO's military 
wing, crossed the border from Angola in an apparent attempt to 
establish a military presence in northern Namibia. The special 
representative authorized a limited contingent of South African troops 
to aid the South West African police in restoring order. A period of 
intense fighting followed, during which 375 PLAN fighters were 
killed. At Mt. Etjo, a game park outside Windhoek, in a special 
meeting of the Joint Commission on April 9, a plan was put in place to 
confine the South African forces to base and return PLAN elements to 
Angola. While the problem was solved, minor disturbances in the north 
continued throughout the transition period. In October, under order of 
the UN Security Council, Pretoria demobilized members of the 
disbanded counterinsurgency unit, Koevoet (Afrikaans for crowbar), 
who had been incorporated into the South West African police.

The 11-month transition period went relatively smoothly. Political 
prisoners were granted amnesty, discriminatory legislation was 
repealed, South Africa withdrew all its forces from Namibia, and some 
42,000 refugees returned safely and voluntarily under the auspices of 
the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 
Almost 98% of registered voters turned out to elect members of the 
constituent assembly. The elections were held in November 1989 and 
were certified as free and fair by the special representative, with 
SWAPO taking 57% of the vote, just short of the two-thirds necessary 
to have a free hand in drafting the constitution. The Democratic 
Turnhalle Alliance, the opposition party, received 29% of the vote. The 
Constituent Assembly held its first meeting on November 21 and its 
first act unanimously resolved to use the 1982 Constitutional Principles 
as the framework for Namibia's new constitution.

By February 9, 1990, the Constituent Assembly had drafted and 
adopted a constitution. March 21, independence day, was attended by 
Secretary of State James A. Baker III to represent President Bush. On 
that same day, he inaugurated the U.S. Embassy in Windhoek in 
recognition of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

On March 1, 1994, the coastal enclave of Walvis Bay and 12 offshore 
islands were transferred to Namibia by South Africa. This followed 
three years of bilateral negotiations between the two governments and 
the establishment of a transitional Joint Administrative Authority 
(JAA) in November 1992 to administer the 300 square mile territory. 
The peaceful resolution of this territorial dispute, which dated back to 
1878, was praised by the U.S. and the international community, as it 
fulfilled the provisions of U.N. Security Council 432 (1978) which 
declared Walvis Bay to be an integral part of Namibia.

GOVERNMENT

After 80 days, the Constituent Assembly produced a constitution which 
established a multi-party system and a bill of rights. It also limited the 
executive president to two five-year terms and provided for the private 
ownership of property. The three branches of government are subject to 
checks and balances, and a provision is made for judicial review. The 
constitution also states that Namibia should have a mixed economy, 
and foreign investment should be encouraged.

While the ethnic-based three-tier South African-imposed governing 
authorities have been dissolved, the current government pledged for the 
sake of national reconciliation to retain civil servants employed during 
the colonial period. The government is still organizing itself both on a 
national and regional level.

The Constituent Assembly converted itself into the National Assembly 
on February 16, 1990, retaining all the members elected on a straight 
party ticket.

The judicial structure in Namibia parallels that of South Africa. In 
1919, Roman-Dutch law was declared the common law of the territory 
and remains so to the present.

Elections were held in 1992, to elect members of 13 newly established 
Regional Councils, as well as new municipal officials. Two members 
from each Regional Council serve simultaneously as members of the 
National Council, the country's second house of Parliament. Nineteen 
of its members are from the ruling SWAPO party, and seven are from 
the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA). In December 1994, 
elections were held for the President and the National Assembly.

National Security

The constitution defined the role of the military as "defending the 
territory and national interests." Namibia formed the National Defense 
Force (NDF), comprised of former enemies in a 23-year bush war: the 
PLAN and South West African territorial force. The British formulated 
the force integration plan and began training the NDF, which consists 
of five battalions and a small headquarters element. The UNTAG 
Kenyan infantry battalion remained in Namibia for 3 months after 
independence to assist in training the NDF and stabilize the north. 
According to the Namibian Defense Ministry, enlistments of both men 
and women will number no more than 7,500. Currently, Namibia has 
no air force or navy. Defense and security account for less than 8% of 
government spending.

Defense cooperation at various levels has been explored with several 
governments, including the United States. Areas of cooperation include 
military education, training, and a fisheries program. A bilateral 
International Military Education and Training (IMET) program was 
concluded between the United States and Namibia in January 1991.

On May 21, 1990, Namibia signed a border-control agreement with 
Angola but to date has not entered into defense agreements with any 
country.

Principal Government Officials

President--Sam S. Nujoma 
Prime Minister--Hage Geingob 
Minister of Foreign Affairs--Theo-Ben Gurirab 
Ambassador to UN--Dr. Tunguru Huaraka 
Ambassador to U.S.--Tuliameni Kalomoh

POLITICAL CONDITIONS

Namibia has about 40 political groups, ranging from modern political 
parties to traditional groups based on tribal authority. Some represent 
single tribes or ethnic groups while others encompass several. Most 
participate in political alliances, some of which are multi-racial, with 
frequently shifting membership.

SWAPO is the ruling party, and all but one of the new government's 
first cabinet posts went to SWAPO members. Two deputy ministers are 
from other parties. Formerly a Marxist oriented movement, SWAPO 
now espouses the principles of multiparty democracy and a mixed 
economy. SWAPO has been a legal political party since its formation 
and was cautiously active in Namibia, although before implementation 
of the UN Plan, it was forbidden to hold meetings of more than 20 
people, and its leadership was subject to frequent detention. SWAPO 
draws its strength principally, but not exclusively, from within the 
Ovambo tribe. In December 1976, the UN General Assembly 
recognized SWAPO as "the sole and authentic representative of the 
Namibian people," a characterization other internal parties did not 
accept.

The principal opposition party is the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance 
(DTA), a coalition of several ethnically based parties, tribal chiefs, and 
former SWAPO members. The DTA, which governed Namibia under 
Pretoria's supervision for 10 years, holds 21 seats in the National 
Assembly. Some of the smaller parties in the National Assembly also 
are ethnically based. The United Democratic Front (4 seats), led by 
Justus Garoeb of the Damara group, is comprised of ethnically based 
parties and former SWAPO members allegedly tortured in SWAPO 
camps in Angola. The Monitor Action Group (3 seats) is a conservative 
party with support from the white community; it favors legislation to 
protect minority rights, which comprises around 50% of Namibia's 
population.

ECONOMY

The Namibian economy has a modern market sector, which produces 
most of the country's wealth, and a traditional subsistence sector. 
Namibia's average GDP per capita is relatively high among developing 
countries but obscures one of the most unequal income distributions on 
the African continent. Although the majority of the population engages 
in subsistence agriculture and herding, Namibia has more than 200,000 
skilled workers, as well as a small, well-trained professional and 
managerial class.

The country's sophisticated formal economy is based on capital-
intensive industry and farming. However, Namibia's economy is 
heavily dependent on the earnings generated from primary commodity 
exports in a few vital sectors, including minerals, livestock, and fish. 
Furthermore, the Namibian economy remains integrated with the 
economy of South Africa, as the bulk of Namibia's imports originate 
there.

Since independence, the Namibian government has pursued free 
market economic principles designed to promote commercial 
development and job creation to bring disadvantaged Namibians into 
the economic mainstream. To facilitate this goal, the government has 
actively courted donor assistance and foreign investment. The liberal 
Foreign Investment Act of 1990 provides for freedom from 
nationalization, freedom to remit capital and profits, currency 
convertibility, and a process for settling disputes equitably. Namibia is 
also addressing the sensitive issue of agrarian land reform in a 
pragmatic manner.

In September 1993, Namibia introduced its own currency, the Namibia 
dollar, which will remain linked to the South African Rand. There has 
been widespread acceptance of the Namibia dollar throughout the 
country and, while Namibia remains a part of the Southern African 
Common Monetary Area, it now enjoys much greater flexibility in 
monetary policy. 

Given its small domestic market but favorable location and a superb 
transport and communications base, Namibia is a leading advocate of 
regional economic integration. In addition to its membership in the 
Southern African Development Community (SADC), Namibia 
presently belongs to the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) 
with South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Within SACU, 
no tariffs exist on goods produced in and moving among the member.

Ninety percent of Namibia's imports originate in South Africa, and 
many Namibian exports are destined for the South African market or 
transit that country. Namibia's exports consist mainly of diamonds and 
other minerals, fish products, beef and meat products, karakul sheep 
pelts, and light manufactures. In recent years, Namibia has accounted 
for about 5% of total SACU exports, and a slightly higher percentage 
of imports.

Namibia is seeking to diversify its trading relationships away from its 
heavy dependence on South African goods and services. Europe has 
become a leading market for Namibian fish and meat, while mining 
concerns in Namibia have purchased heavy equipment and machinery 
from Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada. 
However, most imports from outside the customs union are subject to 
tariff rates which are usually quite restrictive. Recently, some of the 
smaller SACU members have called for reform of the customs union, 
which is viewed by many as a protectionist vestige of South Africa's 
apartheid past. Also, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 
(GATT) is putting pressure on SACU to reduce its prohibitive tariffs 
and other barriers to trade, which have tended to inhibit true 
competition within the region.

In 1993, Namibia itself became a GATT signatory, and the Minister of 
Trade and Industry represented Namibia at the Marrakech signing of 
the Uruguay Round Agreement in April 1994. Namibia is also a 
member of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and 
has acceded to the European Community/Union's Lome Convention.

Mining and Energy

Although beset in recent years by increasing global competition, slack 
demand, and falling prices, mining remains Namibia's most important 
economic sector. In 1993, mining contributed about 18% of GDP and 
54% of exports.

High value, gem-quality diamonds remain Namibia's leading generator 
of export earnings. Other important mineral resources are uranium, 
copper, lead, and zinc. The country is also a source of gold, silver, tin, 
vanadium, semi-precious gemstones, tantalite, phosphate, sulfur, and 
salt.

During the pre-independence period, large areas of Namibia (including 
offshore) were leased for oil prospecting. Some natural gas was 
discovered in 1974 in the Kudu Field off the mouth of the Orange 
River, but the extent of this find is not fully known. The Namibian 
government has invited foreign firms to explore for hydrocarbons in 
Namibia, with a view to lessening its dependence on South Africa for 
its energy supply.

Early in 1993, the government awarded the first round of licenses to 
several foreign consortia (including Chevron) to undertake offshore 
exploration for oil. One of the concessionaires, Norsk Hydro, sank its 
first exploratory well in late 1993, but the company has yet to reveal 
whether this initial effort was successful. The government is 
conducting a second petroleum licensing round, from October 1, 1994, 
to July 31, 1995, during which all available offshore and onshore 
blocks will be open for international bidding.

In November 1993, the Minister of Mines and Energy announced his 
government's intention to proceed with the feasibility study of the 
major Epupa Falls hydropower project on the Kunene River border 
with Angola.

Agriculture

Namibian agriculture contributes only 8% of Namibia's GDP, but 
approximately 70% of the Namibian population depends on 
agricultural activities for livelihood, mostly in the subsistence sector. In 
1993, agriculture products constituted roughly 7% of total Namibian 
exports.

In the largely white-dominated commercial sector, agriculture consists 
primarily of livestock ranching. Cattle raising is predominant in the 
central and northern regions, while karakul sheep, goat, and ostrich 
farming are concentrated in the more arid southern regions. Subsistence 
farming is confined to the "communal lands" of the country's populous 
north, where roaming cattle herds are prevalent and the main crops are 
mahango (millet), sorghum, corn, and peanuts.

The government introduced its long-awaited agricultural land reform 
legislation in September 1994, and a companion bill dealing with the 
communal areas will be presented later. As the government addresses 
the vital land and range management questions, water use issues and 
availability considered.

Fishing

The clean, cold South Atlantic waters off the coast of Namibia are 
home to some of the richest fishing grounds in the world, with the 
potential for sustainable yields of up to 1.5 million metric tons per year. 
Commercial fishing and fish processing is becoming the fastest-
growing sector of the Namibian economy in terms of employment, 
export earnings, and contribution to GDP.

The main species found in abundance off Namibia are pilchards 
(sardines), anchovy, hake, and horse mackerel. There are also smaller 
but significant quantities of sole, squid, deepsea crab, rock lobster, and 
tuna. However, due to the lack of protection and conservation of the 
fisheries and the overexploitation of these resources in the pre-
independence era, fish stocks have fallen to dangerously low levels. 
This trend appears to have been halted and reversed since 
independence, as the Namibian government is now pursuing a 
conservative resource management policy along with an aggressive 
fisheries enforcement campaign.

Manufacturing and Infrastructure

In 1993, Namibia's manufacturing sector contributed approximately 
9% of GDP. Namibian manufacturing is inhibited by a small domestic 
market, dependence on imported goods, limited supply of local capital, 
widely dispersed population, small skilled labor force and high relative 
wage rates, and subsidized competition from South Africa.

Since the March 1994 return of Walvis Bay from South Africa, there 
has been interest in developing a free trade zone or export processing 
zone in the harbor town. Walvis Bay is a well-developed, deep-water 
port, and Namibia's fishing infrastructure is most heavily concentrated 
there. The Namibian government expects Walvis Bay to become an 
important commercial gateway to the Southern African region.

Namibia also boasts world-class civil aviation facilities and an 
extensive, well-maintained land transportation network. Construction is 
underway on two new arteries -- the Trans-Caprivi and Trans-Kalahari 
Highways -- which will open up the region's access to Walvis Bay. 
Furthermore, Telecom Namibia is in the process of procuring state-of-
the-art technology to modernize its already impressive communications 
infrastructure, including the erection of three new satellite earth 
stations which will link Namibia with the world.

Labor

While most Namibians are economically active in one form or another, 
the bulk of this activity is in the informal sector, primarily subsistence 
agriculture. In the formal economy, official estimates of unemployment 
range from 25% to 35% the workforce. A large number of Namibians 
seeking jobs in the formal sector are held back due to a lack of 
necessary skills or training. The government is aggressively pursuing 
education reform to overcome this problem.

Namibia's largest labor federation, the National Union of Namibian 
Workers (NUNW) represents workers organized into seven affiliated 
trade unions. At its September 1993 Congress, the rank-and-file agreed 
to maintain the NUNW's close affiliation with the ruling SWAPO 
party, despite the objections of some members.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Namibia follows a non-aligned foreign policy. Former SWAPO offices 
abroad began performing some diplomatic functions after Namibia's 
independence, and the government established 11 overseas embassies 
in the first year of independence.

With a small army and a fragile economy, the Namibian government's 
principal foreign policy concern is getting along with its powerful 
neighbors. As its economy is closely tied to South Africa, Namibia's 
relations with its former colonial metropole have been pragmatic. 
Namibia's warm relations with Zambia and Angola, and other black-
ruled neighboring countries, are the result of those countries' support of 
SWAPO during its 23-year war with South Africa. Relations with 
Botswana are excellent; Namibia has looked to Botswana's democratic 
institutions and market-based economy as models.

Namibia became the 160th member of the United Nations on April 23, 
1990, and the 50th member of the British Commonwealth upon 
independence.

U.S.-NAMIBIAN RELATIONS

U.S.-Namibian relations are characterized by shared democratic values 
and the active role the United States played in helping Namibia reach 
independence. Namibian independence had been a major U.S. foreign 
policy goal for more than 10 years. 

In keeping with its support of UN resolutions and International Court 
of Justice advisory opinions regarding Namibia, the U.S. government 
believed that the South African government should end its 
administration of Namibia. The United States advocated a resolution of 
the Namibian problem by peaceful means and supported practical 
efforts to enable the people of Namibia to exercise their right to self-
determination and independence on the basis of UN Security Council 
Resolution 435.

In the ensuing years, the United States played the principal role in 
negotiations to achieve Namibian independence, a process that enjoyed 
virtually unanimous international support. In 1988, U.S. diplomats 
mediated a set of interlocking agreements that allowed implementation 
of Resolution 435. Those agreements constituted a "peace without 
losers," in which all parties achieved their security objectives in 
southwestern Africa. The United States contributed over $100 million 
toward UNTAG.

From May 1970 until Namibia's independence, the U.S. government 
discouraged American investment in Namibia. It announced that 
investment rights acquired through the South African government 
following termination of the mandate of 1966 would not be protected 
against the claims of a future, lawful government in the territory. In 
1986, Comprehensive Anti Apartheid Act sanctions were applied 
against Namibia because it was a territory administered by South 
Africa. All sanctions were lifted when Namibia reached independence.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Ambassador--Marshall F. McCallie
Deputy Chief of Mission--Katherine H. Peterson
Public Affairs Officer--Helen Picard
Political Officer--Carl Troy
Economic/Commercial Officer--Philip Drouin
Consular Officer--Robert Bruton


USAID Officer--Edward Spriggs
Defense Attache--LTC Gary Walker
Peace Corps Country Director--Colden Murchison

The U.S. Embassy in Namibia is located at 14 Lossen Street, 
Windhoek, (tel. 22-1601).

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