Current issues and what the World Food Programme is doing
What are the current issues in Namibia
Namibia is an upper-middle-income country with perennial food deficits, recurrent natural disasters where cyclical drought and floods severely affect people’s livelihoods. High rates of chronic malnutrition are linked to food insecurity and structural poverty. The HIV prevalence rate of 13.5% is the sixth highest in the world.
Since independence in 1990, Namibia has enjoyed relative stability and the economy grew at an average rate of 4.71% between 2000 and 2015. However, this has not translated into reducing poverty rates or income disparity levels. Namibia is perceived as one of the upper-middle income countries with the most unequal income distribution in the world. In 2016 the proportion of poor individuals stood at 18% and the unemployment rate at 29.9% of the total labour force affecting mostly the youth and women.
Namibia is one of the countries in the southern African region to have been hit hard by the “triple threat” of HIV, tuberculosis and malnutrition.
The food security situation in Namibia is characterised by extreme variability in levels of food production, dependency on large volumes of coarse grain imports and disparity in household income levels. In 2016, the President of Namibia Dr Hage Geingob declared a National Drought Emergency. Drought in Namibia has left more 560,000 people food insecure and in need of food assistance for survival and livelihood and about 1.5 million people relying on subsistence farming.
The 2016 Global Hunger Index (GHI), ranked Namibia 31.4 out of 118 countries assessed, indicating a “serious food problem”. This rating is nevertheless an improvement on its level in 1995 (21.9), indicating that the food security situation in Namibia has improved. Namibia’s climate and largely semi-arid and arid conditions are expected to impact the economy and general livelihoods.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Namibia
In Namibia, food assistance activities are undertaken directly by the government. WFP's focus has shifted from the provision of food assistance, to providing technical assistance aiming to strengthen government capacity and manage food security activities for vulnerable people including school children. WFP’s technical assistance focuses on the following broad areas:
- Policy Guidance: technical advice/guidance on food assistance management, nutrition and introduction of standards and procedures for food assistance programming.
- Knowledge Generation and Management: strengthening the evidence base on food safety nets and the food security situation through assessments and studies.
- Strengthening Monitoring Systems: systems for food assistance management, food and nutrition security monitoring, and programme impact analysis and evaluation.
- Capacity Building and Technical Assistance: strategies that strengthen government capacity to assess, plan and manage food-based programmes effectively.
Technical Assistance to School Feeding Programme
Since 2012, WFP and the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture have been collaborating to improve the Namibian School Feeding Programme (NSFP), which provides nutritious daily mid-morning meal to 330,000 primary school learners with the aim to enhance educational goals.
WFP provides technical support in four broad areas: i) Policy guidance, ii) Capacity building and programme support, iii) Knowledge generation and iv) Systems strengthening. Technical assistance to the school feeding programme is fully funded by the Government of Namibia.
Technical Assistance to Government Food Assistance Programme
In 2012, WFP and the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) established a partnership to strengthen government capacity to assess, plan and respond to emergency food needs resulting from natural disasters and other shocks. Under this partnership framework, WFP supports the government in four technical areas: (i) Food Security analysis, (ii) Food security/food management systems strengthening, (iii) Capacity building and (iv) Programme Support.
Technical Assistance to OPM is funded by USAID/OFDA and WFP.
Featured Namibia publications
A Country Brief provides the latest snapshot of the country strategy, operations, operational highlights (achievements and issues/challenges), partnerships and country background.
Looking for more publications on Namibia? Visit the Namibia publications archive.