Since gaining independence in 1990, Namibia has enjoyed relative stability. Although considered an upper middle-income country, it still ranks 128 out of 186 countries in the 2012 UNDP Human Development Index. Income disparity is high among its population of 2.1 million, as indicated by the high GINI index value of 0.591. Unemployment continues to affect more than 50 percent of the population and is a major contributor to the poverty and food insecurity of the country. The HIV prevalence is sixth highest in the world, standing at 13.3 percent. Namibia is one of the countries in the Southern African region to be hit hard with the “ triple threat ” of HIV, tuberculosis and malnutrition.
Progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has been made. However, according to the IGCME report, the mortality rate for children under 5 remains high at 39 deaths per 1,000 live births. Although food availability at the national level is adequate, access to food is a concern for an estimated 20 percent of the population. The stunting rate for children under five years of age is 29 percent.
Namibia is prone to recurring natural disasters such as drought, locust infestation and floods. In 2011, the northern and north-eastern parts of the country again suffered from flooding, prompting the Government to declare a national emergency and request for international assistance. In May 2013, the Government declared another drought emergency following an Inter-Agency Emergency Food Security Assessment which revealed that some 330,000 people were food insecure while a further 447,580 were moderately food insecure. Following the declaration, the Government allocated N$207 million for procurement and distribution of emergency food assistance, funding of a livestock marketing incentive scheme, and a subsidy for farmers to transport livestock to areas with grazing and for leasing grazing. The Government also allocated funds from the same budget for the drilling of new boreholes and the rehabilitation and maintenance of existing boreholes. Whilst efforts made to address the drought at different levels are recognised, they are considered insufficient to address the drought situation adequately. In response to calls for a more integrated approach to drought relief response, a national drought relief response plan was developed by stakeholders. The response plan shows some significant budget deficit in key sectors to address the drought situation up to March 2014 for 463,580 people.
Namibia continues to provide shelter, basic education and health care, to some 2,500 refugees and asylum seekers, mainly from the Great lakes regions and neighbouring countries. Following the implementation of Cessation Clause in June 2012 which resulted in the voluntary repatriation of over 3,000 Angolan refugees, in May 2013, WFP handed over the responsibility for feeding the remaining refugees to UNHCR and provided technical assistance to UNHCR to explore the feasibility of introducing Cash and Vouchers in the refugee camp.