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, recurring droughts and floods and high rates of chronic malnutrition, structural poverty and HIV/AIDS among people of working age.
Since gaining independence in 1990, Namibia has enjoyed relative stability and the economy grew at an average rate of 4.71 percent between 2000 and 2015. This growth, however, has not translated into reduced poverty rates or income disparity levels in Namibia, which are amongst the most highest in the world. In 2015 the proportion of poor individuals stood at 26.9 percent and the unemployment rate at 29.9 percent of the total labour force.
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 HIV prevalence rate is sixth highest in the world, standing at 13.3 percent. The political stability in Namibia has also made it a favourite destination of refugees and asylum seekers from the region. Improved political and economic conditions in neighbouring countries have allowed many refugees in Namibia to return home. With fewer than 3,000 refugees left in Namibia, plans are underway to resettle them in a third country in Africa or integrate them into local communities.
The food security situation in Namibia is characterised by extreme variability in levels of food production, large volumes of coarse grain imports and disparity in household income levels. The 2014 Global Hunger Index, published by The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), ranks Namibia at 51 out of 120 countries assessed, with an index score of 18.4, 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 food insecurity is mainly linked to structural poverty compounded by high HIV/AIDS prevalence rates and recurrent natural disasters where cyclical drought and floods severely affect people's livelihoods.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Namibia
In Namibia, where food assistance activities are undertaken directly by the government, WFP's focus has shifted from the provision of food aid to the equally important role of providing technical assistance to strengthen government capacity to manage food assistance programmes for vulnerable people including school children. This technical assistance is concentrated 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 of the food security situation through assessments and studies.
- Strengthening Monitoring Systems: systems for food assistance management, food security monitoring, monitoring and evaluation for impact analysis and evaluation.
- Capacity Building and Technical Assistance: strategies that strengthen government capacity to assess, plan and manage effective food-based programmes.
Technical Assistance to School Feeding Programme
In 2012, WFP the Ministry of Education (MOE) (now the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture) established a strategic partnership with WFP in order to improve the Namibian School Feeding Programme (NSFP). The partnership has been extended to 2018. The NSFP provides a nutritious hot meal every school day to 320,000 primary school children, supporting the government’s goals of providing access to education for all Namibian children and of keeping children from vulnerable backgrounds at school. WFP provides technical support to the NSFP 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 jointly funded by the Government of Namibia and WFP.
Technical Assistance to Government Food Assistance Programme
In 2012, WFP signed a two-year partnership with the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) to strengthen government capacity to assess, plan and respond to emergency food needs resulting from natural disasters and other shocks. The partnership has been extended to 2017. 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 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.