Supporting The Public Sector of Namibia



The constitution provides for free education until the age of 16 or completion of primary education. Public spending on education was 8.4 per cent of GDP in 2010. There are ten years of compulsory education starting at the age of seven, with some 84 per cent of pupils completing primary school (2009). The government and the World Bank have sought to remedy the perceived two-tier education system reflected by school results in 2012, with a body of elite private schools out-performing the under-resourced public system. There are more than 100 private schools in Namibia.

The principal tertiary institution is the University of Namibia, established in 1993, with its main campus in Windhoek and nine other campuses across the country. There is also a polytechnic, technical and agricultural colleges, and four national teacher-training colleges. The Namibian College of Open Learning provides open and distance learning.



Public spending on health was 5% per cent of GDP in 2012. Namibia has 47 public and private hospitals, the majority of which are found in the north of the country and in the larger towns where most people live (2009). Windhoek Central Hospital is Namibia’s largest referral hospital. The private health sector is a mixture of non-profit and for-profit entities. The Caprivi Medical Centre, a 55 bed private health facility in Katima Mulilo, will be constructed as a public–private partnership at a cost of N$80.00 million. It will chiefly supply a health care provision gap in the region and stop outflows of money to pay for specialist health care outside of the country. Another private hospital will be built in Rundu.

AIDS remains a serious problem in the country. In 2011, 14 per cent of people aged 15–49 were HIV positive. An up-scale of donor funding improved HIV treatment in Namibia between 2004 and 2009. However, continued funding was deemed unsustainable and the US Agency for International Development/Namibia commissioned an assessment in 2010 of the potential role of the private sector to mobilise financing, decrease costs and increase efficiency. By mid-2010, three public–private partnerships were founded to supply patient screening and treatment: Oranjemund and Rose Pinah, both with mine-operated medical facilities; and the Bophelo! PPP screening programme (in partnership with NABCOA, PharmAccess and MoHSS, as well as funding partners, including USAID, Global Fund and some Dutch donors).



There are 44,140 km of roads, 15 per cent of which are paved. Two long-haul road projects were completed in the late 1990s – the Trans-Caprivi Highway and the Trans-Kalahari Highway through Botswana to South Africa. These arteries enable Namibia to provide landlocked central African countries with an outlet to the sea, as well as greatly reducing the journey to Johannesburg.

Rail: The 2,400-km railway network was established under German colonial rule and much needed upgrading was carried out from the mid-1990s. The Trans-Kalahari Corridor is now scheduled for a five-year development via private investment to link Walvis Bay and Botswana to the Gauteng region of South Africa. The line will serve industries located in the Gauteng region as well as increase demand for dedicated railway services along the Trans-Kalahari Corridor, offering regional integration and economic growth for the three SADC countries, as well as improving traffic distribution. Confirmed funding agents include the Development Bank of South Africa and the US Trade and Development Agency. Full construction cost is estimated at US$0.8–1.4 billion.

Airports: Air transport is important because of Namibia’s size. There are more than 350 aerodromes and airstrips, with licensed airports in the main towns and mining centres, including the international airport some 40 km from Windhoek. Windhoek Hosea Kutako International Airport is Namibia’s main international airport. Air Namibia, the national carrier, offers regional and international services.

Ports: Walvis Bay, the only deep-water port, is the country’s principal port and is an important link for the region in terms of imports and exports for Namibia’s landlocked neighbours. Use of Lüderitz, Namibia’s second port, has increased due to a rise in fishing activities. Development via private investment partnerships centres on Walvis Bay. A bay expansion is currently under implementation as a joint venture between Namport and the Walvis Bay municipality to satisfy increased demand for cargo along the west coast of southern Africa and position Namibia as a hub port for the SADC region. Potential funding agents have been named as Kreditanstalt fuer Wiederaufbau (KfW), African Partnership Unit and the Development Bank of Southern Africa. The Marina Development of Walvis Bay is another joint venture between Namport and Walvis Bay to create a land to sea marina interface. Walvis Bay will further be developed as an oil supply base and ship repair hub in a third scheme.