Namibia is an upper-middle-income country with perennial food deficits, recurring droughts and floods, high rates of chronic malnutrition, and one of the highest levels of HIV/AIDS in the world.
The country covers 824,000 square kilometres with a population of around 2 million people. The population growth rate is approximately 2.5 percent and slowly declining. Even though the country is classified as upper-middle income by the World Bank income disparity is high. About one third of the country’s population lives on less than a US$ 1 a day.
Two-thirds of the population live in rural areas and nearly half of rural households depend on subsistence agriculture. This is characterized by low productivity and high variability due to water scarcity, erratic rainfall, poor soils and low capacity to support intensive agricultural methods. Access to adequate food for marginalized and vulnerable populations remains a constant challenge, contributing to the current, unacceptable levels of chronic malnutrition (29%). A 2012 Joint Southern Africa food security update estimated Namibia’s cereal requirements at 332,800 metric tonnes with 42% (139,776 MT) expected to be covered through local production and 58% (193,024 MT) through commercial imports.
In the 2012 UNDP Human Development Index, Namibia ranked 120th out of 187 countries. The country continues to face several developmental challenges with HIV/AIDS one of the most prominent. The national HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is about 17.8 percent with the highest prevalence found among the most productive age group of 25-44 years. Of the 150,000 orphans in Namibia, 69,000 had been orphaned due to HIV/AIDS.
The country still hosts some 3,500 refugees and asylum seekers, most of whom fled civil war in neighbouring Angola. As the situation in Angola improved many refugees returned home. In 2012, WFP supported the voluntary repatriation of more than 2,700 Angolan refugees by providing a three-month repatriation package for refugees who opted to return home. However, the conflict in the Great Lakes region created a new wave of asylum seekers arriving from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. Refugees and asylum seekers live in the Osire settlement in central Namibia.