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Namibia, Economy

The principal occupations are livestock raising (primarily cattle, Karakul sheep, and goats), and subsistence agriculture, which, because of scanty rainfall, is largely confined to the north. Gross domestic product (GDP) in 2000 was $3.5 billion, or $1,980 per person. Industry, principally mining, contributes the largest portion of the GDP, 28 percent in 1999. Namibia has some of the richest diamond fields in the world. Nearly all diamonds extracted are of gem quality. Gem-quality diamond output in 2000 was 1.5 million carats. Other important mineral products include uranium, copper, tin, lead, silver, vanadium, tungsten, and salt. The waters off Namibia’s coast are rich in marine life, which thrives in the cold waters of the Benguela Current. Because of overfishing, the catch has dropped since the early 1970s; the catch in 1997 was 291,164 metric tons. Mackerel, pilchard, hakes, and anchovies were the principal species caught.

The official unit of currency was changed in 1993 from the South African rand to the Namibian dollar (N$6.94 equal U.S.$1; 2000 average). The new currency is linked to the rand on a one-to-one basis. Most of Namibia’s trade is with South Africa, with which Namibia is linked, along with Swaziland, Botswana, and Lesotho, in a customs union. Transportation is provided by a network of 66,467 km (41,301 mi) of roads and 2,382 km (1,480 mi) of railroads. Luderitz and Walvis Bay are the only ports.

 
 

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