Namibia has an immense network of 64,800 kilometers (40,267 miles) of roads but only 7,800 kilometers (4,847 miles) are paved. A 4,600 kilometer (2,858 mile) tarred highway network links most of the economically-significant areas and neighboring countries. The Trans Caprivi Highway and the Trans Kalahari Highway were 2 long-haul road projects completed in the late 1990s to run through Botswana to South Africa. These arteries enable Namibia to provide land-locked central African countries with an outlet to the sea, as well as reducing journey times to Johannesburg, South Africa.
The 2,382-kilometer (1,480-mile) railway network was established under German colonial rule and much-needed upgrading was underway by the mid-1990s. A total of 1.8 million tons of freight were transported by rail in 1996-97, of which 70 percent was national traffic. Rail passenger numbers dropped from 159,000 in 1992 to 82,000 in 1994 but recovered to 124,000 in 1996 as a result of more investment and better services.
Namibia Shipping Lines was established in 1992 under the transport holding company Trans-Namb in a joint venture with South Africa's Unicorn line. The Namibia Port Authority in 1996 launched a 4-year (US$77 million) plan to modernize and extend the facilities at Walvis Bay and Lüderitz. Walvis Bay, the nation's only deep-water port, is the main export outlet, handling around 2 million tons of cargo a year, 20 percent of which is containerized. Petroleum products constitute the largest import category, salt the largest export category. Use of Lüderitz, Namibia's second operating port, has also increased, due to a rise in fishing activities. A third harbor is planned for Mowe Bay, north of Walvis. This would also serve the fishing fleet.
Air transport is important because of Namibia's size. Air Namibia, the national carrier, is another subsidiary of Trans-Namib. Since independence, a regional and international flight network has been set up, in addition to already established domestic routes. There are more than 135 airports, 22 of which have paved runways, including the international airport outside Windhoek.
Namibia in 1999 was a net energy importer, obtaining half its electricity from South Africa. It produced 1.198 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 1999, about 98 percent of which came from hydroelectric plants, but the country had to import over 600 million kWhs of electricity to supply its needs. Mining is a heavy energy consumer but most households still have no access to commercial energy supplies. Commercial energy is mainly obtained from imported oil and South African coal. The larger population centers in the north and northeast are being connected to the national electricity grid.
Drilling by Shell in the offshore Kudu gas field confirmed the presence of very significant reserves that would make the country a net exporter of energy. Development of the field began in 1998 with the first gas scheduled for production in the early 2000s.
Namibia maintains a free press. There were 19 newspapers, including the pro-government, but independent, daily newspaper in 1996. There are 9 radio stations which cover 80 percent of the population, and the 1 television network covers 45 percent of the population, all under the control of the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation. There is growing competition from South Africa. TV broadcasts are in local languages as well as English. There were 143 radios, 32 TV sets, and 19 PCs per 1,000 people in mid-1998.
There is an efficient postal service. The telephone system was upgraded and extended under a US$31 million investment program in 1993-97. There were some 80,000 telephone and 5,000 fax subscribers in 1997. A fully automated digital network was in operation by 1997.
|Country||Newspapers||Radios||TV Sets a||Cable subscribers a||Mobile Phones a||Fax Machines a||Personal Computers a||Internet Hosts b||Internet Users b|
|a Data are from International Telecommunication Union, World Telecommunication Development Report 1999 and are per 1,000 people.|
|b Data are from the Internet Software Consortium ( http://www.isc.org ) and are per 10,000 people.|
|SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.|
Telecom Namibia has set up a GSM standard cellular telephone network, in conjunction with 2 Swedish companies. There were 58 main telephone lines and 8 mobile phones per 1,000 people in 1997.