A significant portion of Namibia’s GDP comes from the extraction and processing of minerals for export, in particular diamonds and uranium. Mining accounted for 8.8 per cent. of nominal GDP in 2010 and provided 40.6 per cent. of foreign exchange earnings. Rich alluvial diamond deposits make Namibia a primary source for gem-quality diamonds, and in 2010 approximately 1.5 million carats were recovered from Namibian mines. Namibia is the world’s fourth-largest producer of uranium, with almost 6,000 tonnes of contained uranium mined in 2010. Namibia also produces large quantities of zinc and smaller amounts of gold and other minerals such as copper and lead. Namibia’s other principal economic sectors include fishing, manufacturing and agriculture. Namibia’s principal exports include metal ores, diamonds, fish and manufactured products while its principal imports include machinery and equipment, transport equipment, food and beverages and chemical rubber and plastic products.
As at 1 September 2011, Namibia’s public debt was approximately N$16.8 billion, or 17.1 per cent of GDP. About a fifth of the debt is owed to bilateral and multilateral foreign creditors, while the rest is domestic debt. The Bank of Namibia has previously accessed the international lending markets in 2006 with a U.S.$50 million syndicated loan facility. The primary objective of this facility was to create a credit record with international lenders as a means of improving borrowing capability to
enable the Government to supplement its foreign exchange reserve levels as and when required. Since 2005, domestic debt has declined gradually from approximately 23.1 per cent. of GDP to 15.9 per cent. at the end of 2010 due to strong fiscal consolidation and prudent fiscal policies. Privatisation receipts of 1.3 per cent. of GDP in 2006 from the sale of a telecommunications firm contributed to the decrease. Moreover, the Government paid certain external debts and redeemed maturing domestic debts in 2009/2010, which also reduced the public debt ratio.