The per capita income of Namibia's consumers-compared with many countries of the world-is more than one would expect. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that for 2005 Namibia's per capita income will be US$6,625. The CIA's World Factbook shows Namibia's per capita income higher at US$7,300 (2004).
No matter which figure is used, Namibia scores higher than many of the developing consumer market showcases. India, for example, its vaunted growing middle class notwithstanding, has a per capita income of US$3,100 (the CIA estimate) and even China does not do well by comparison at US$5,600 (also a CIA figure).
Nonetheless, about half of Namibia's 2-million people are subsistence farmers, and about a third, according to the CIA live on less than US$1,400 per year.
So where is this promising economy headed?
According to a November 18, 2005 report in the Namibian Economist (Windhoek), economic growth in the country is slowing down. The Economist attributes this information to the governor of the country's central bank. The governor says that Namibia's GDP growth will be 3.2 percent in 2005, as opposed to the 3.8 percent the bank previously forecasted.
The IMF forecast for 2005 Namibian growth, prepared in the autumn of 2004, said it would be 3.6 percent higher than in 2004. So the IMF's estimate is closer to the central bank's original forecast.
The reasons given for the slowdown are that mineral production is off. The country is one of the world's premiere diamond producers. It also accounts for a high percentage of the world's uranium...