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. Income distribution in Namibia is highly distorted with about 35 percent of the country’s population living on less than US$ 1 a day.
While the country’s economy is heavily dependent on the mining sector, roughly half of Namibia’s two million people rely on subsistence agriculture, characterized by low productivity and high variability due to water scarcity, erratic rainfall, poor soils and low capacity to support intensive agricultural methods. At the national level, Namibia is food secure. However, access to adequate food for marginalized and vulnerable populations remains a constant challenge, contributing to the current, unacceptable levels of chronic malnutrition.
In 2009, a FAO/WFP Crop, Livestock and Food Security Assessment estimated Namibia's annual cereal requirement at 289,000 metric tons of which 139,000 metric tons were produced locally while the rest was met through imports. With high global food and fuel prices, however, rises in the cost of food have increased pressure on the most vulnerable households and made access to food by poor households even more problematic. HIV/AIDS is another developmental challenge for Namibia.
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 6,500 refugees and asylum seekers, most of whom fled civil war in neighboring Angola. As the situation in Angola improved many refugees returned 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.
Refugee Relief: Since 1999, WFP has been providing food assistance to Angolan and other refugees and asylum seekers in Namibia. WFP still provides monthly food rations to some 6,500 refugees and asylum seekers from other countries, most of them in the Great Lakes region. Efforts are being made to find a durable solution to the refugee situation. WFP will provide a three-month food package to refugees who decide to return home.
Flood Response: WFP gives technical assistance to the Government of Namibia to deliver life-saving food assistance to people affected by floods, mainly in the northern and north-eastern parts of Namibia. Specific support is provided in the areas of food assistance programming and associated logistics including beneficiary targeting, warehouse and commodity management, food distribution and reporting.