Namibia. This year’s rainy season was the driest in 30 years and led to major problems for residents, especially in the northernmost parts of the country where most feed on livestock and agriculture, making them particularly vulnerable to periods of drought as livestock run the risk of dying while accessing to basic foods that millet and corn drastically decrease. In May, the country’s president, Hifikepunye Pohamba, declared disaster status as a result of the drought.
Although Namibia is classified as a middle-income country by, among others, the World Bank, many Namibians live in poverty. According to Countryaah, the income disparities in Namibia are among the largest in the world. The stable economic growth that the country has shown over the last ten years has not benefited the majority of the population.
In August, to discuss issues relating to water supply and climate change, the country’s capital Windhoek was named the ninth international water conference organized by the International Water Association (IWA) in August. Although long-term access to clean water has been neglected in a number of countries in Africa, it was the first time the conference took place on the African continent.
The water shortage in Namibia is largely due to climate change, which results in extreme weather conditions for many sub-Saharan countries. Another reason for the water shortage is the increased migration into the cities and a water-demanding mining industry that uses large quantities of water in its production.
To overcome these problems, a lot of resources are being invested in research on water supply, and Windhoek is considered to be a precursor when it comes to developing waste water purification techniques for clean drinking water. In 2012, researchers found a large underground water source in the northern part of Namibia on the border with Angola. Assessors believed it could provide the Namibians with clean water for 400 years.
In the fall, work began on replacing German place names, a remnant from the colonial era of the 19th century, to Namibian counterparts. Another positive news during the year was that Namibia ranked high on Reporters Without Borders list of press freedom in the countries of the world. The country climbed two places compared to the previous year and was ranked number 19 out of a total of 179 countries. Namibia was thus the country in Africa that ranked highest on the list, followed by Cape Verde and Ghana in 25th and 30th respectively.