Through Namibian colonial history, the country's economy
has largely come to have a strong export orientation, with a
focus on mineral extraction and large-scale agricultural
production. However, the economy is weakly integrated; About
90 per cent of total production is exported, while 90 per
cent of consumption is imported. There are also very large
economic differences between the white minority and the
African population. Diamond exports have historically played
a major role.
During the first half of the 1980s, Namibia suffered a
deep economic recession with falling demand and prices for
the most important export products. From the mid-1980s, the
economy was characterized by growth, which leveled out
around the turn of the century, but which gained momentum
during the 00s. However, the global financial crisis of
2008–09 hit hard on the mining industry, mainly diamond
countryaah, the agricultural sector consists of livestock farming
households in the middle and southern parts and
self-sustaining agriculture in the northern parts of the
country. In addition, there are approximately 4,000 larger
commercial farms (ranches), which are owned almost
exclusively by whites. The land reform, based on voluntary
sales and fragmentation of large goods, which the government
has been pursuing since 1990 is very slow. This is mainly
because the large farms are profitable and mean a lot to the
country's agricultural production. Due to the country's
special ecological conditions, commercial agriculture is
more than 90 per cent focused on livestock and sheep
farming. In the southern parts, breeding of caracal sheep is
Commercial cereal production on a larger scale is
conducted only in the areas around Tsumeb and in connection
with the irrigation project at Hardap in central Namibia.
The most important commercial agricultural products are meat
and hides from caracal sheep. The most important
self-sustaining crops are beans, potatoes and corn. The
agricultural sector's contribution to GDP has increased
despite the negative impact of armed conflict, drought and
overworking on the sector.
Namibia's fishing waters are among the richest in the
world. The fishing industry is about as important to the
economy as agriculture, together they are Namibia's second
most important export sectors, after the mining industry.
Most of the catch is processed in the country by domestic
companies. After independence, the previous problems with
overfishing from foreign fishing fleets have been addressed.
Namibia is the world's largest producer of jewelry
diamonds. The most famous diamond mine is in Oranjemund,
from which almost 98 percent of the diamonds are jewelery
quality. Since 1991, diamonds have also been mined at
Elizabeth Bay and south along the coast. Diamonds mined at
sea now account for a majority of total production.
The uranium, although relatively low-grade, is mined in,
among other things, the Rössing mine, the world's largest
mining mine for uranium extraction. Namibia is also a major
producer of lead, cadmium, zinc and copper. In addition to
already used mineral deposits, the country is attempting to
diversify the mining sector by extracting previously unused
mineral deposits; Namibia's reserves of tin and lithium are
among the world's largest. Furthermore, there are large
deposits of natural gas on the continental shelf outside
Lüderitz. In 2011, large oil deposits were discovered
offshore in the south.
The industrial sector in Namibia is very small and mainly
focuses on the processing and processing of food, including
meat and fish for export. Traditionally, the country has
been dependent on South Africa for manufacturing products.
This and the limited local market, fluctuations in the
fishing and livestock industry, high energy and transport
costs, and a lack of educated business leaders have had a
negative impact on industrial development. However, some
industrial investments have been made; Among other things,
the processing of natural resources in the country is
increasing, especially diamond grinding. In 2011, Africa's
largest cement factory in Namibia was inaugurated in 2011.
Namibia's exports are dominated by primary products,
especially in the mining sector, but fish and beef are also
exported. A large part of the exports goes to South Africa,
but also to Botswana and Switzerland. Imports are dominated
by, among other things, food and machinery, which come
mainly from South Africa. Namibia is a member of the
Southern African Customs Union (SACU).