Namibia - Namibie (NA)

1.  Language information / Données sur les langues

1.1  Languages spoken / Langues parlées

a) Official / Officielle(s) :


b) National, indigenous / Nationale(s), indigène(s) :

All indigenous languages are given equal status (none have special status), but their possible use in various official capacities is recognized.

Ethnologue lists 28 languages at and has a map at

Ethnic Groups as Percentages of the Population (with languages spoken) (Dutcher 2004):

  • Ovambo: 50% (Oshindonga, Oshikwanyama)
  • Kavangos: 9% (Rukwangali, Mbukushu, Rugciriku)
  • Herero: 7% (Otjiherero)
  • Damara: 7% (Khoekhoegowab)
  • Nama: 5% (Khoekhoegowab)
  • Caprivian: 4% (Subiya, Mafwe, Shieyi, Totela, Silozi) (language of wider communication)
  • San: 3% (Vasekela Bushman, Kxoe, !Kung, Ju/'hoan, Hai//om, -/Kx'au//'ein, 'Akhoe. !Xoo)
  • Baster: 2% (Afrikaans)
  • Tswana: less than 1% (Setswana)

The remaining 13 % of the population is made up of mother tongue Afrikaans speakers...

According to Dutcher (2004), Afrikaans is the LWC in much of the country, especially the south.

c) Relevant pages in the Major Languages section of this report / Pages appropriées dans la section de ce rapport sur les Langues principales :

Oshiwambo (Kwanyama & Ndonga), Nama, Lozi (Silozi), Tswana, Afrikaans

1.2  Policy / Politique

a) Laws/legislation / Lois/législation :

The site L'aménagement linguistique dans le monde has a page on Namibia at

b) Agencies / Agences :

c) Languages in education/literacy / Langues dans l'éducation/l'alphabétisation :

According to Dutcher (2004) instruction in grades 1-3 is in the mother tongue, and thereafter in English.

UNDP (2006) gives a literacy figure (without reference to which language[s]) of: 85.0%

1.3  Writing in national/indigenous languages / Ecriture en langues nationales/indigènes

a) Orthographies / Orthographes :

The Latin alphabet is used for all languages.

b) Print publications / Editions imprimées :

1.4  Other comments / Autre commentaire

2.  ICT situation / Situation des TIC

2.1  Infrastructure / Infrastructure

a) Telephones / Téléphones :

  • Fixed lines: Telephone mainlines: 66 per 1000 people (APC)
  • Mobile subscriptions: 190,000 (9.9 per 100 people) (ITU 2004 cited in Vodafone 2005)

"In Namibia as a whole, 13.2% of households have a household phone, 95.6% of which are fixed lines and 4.4% mobile phones. Rural areas clearly lag in acquiring household phones." (Towards an African e-Index)

b) Radio stations / Stations de radio :

c) Connectivity / Connectivité :

  • International internet bandwidth / Bande passante internationale d'internet :
  • ISPs / FSI :
  • Geographic coverage / Couverture géographique :

2.2  Computer & internet access / Accès aux ordinateurs et à l'internet

a) Computers & points of access / Ordinateurs et lieux d'accès :

  • Number of computers / Nombre d'ordinateurs: 36.4 per 1000 people (APC)
  • Cybercafés / Cybercafés:
  • Project telecentres / Télécentres de projets:

"Of the respondents [to a survey on internet use] that use the Internet, 71.4% have access to the Internet at school or work. Only 20.4% use Internet cafés." (Towards an African e-Index)

b) Internet / Internet :

  • Dial-up subscribers / Abonnés par ligne téléphonique :
  • Internet users / Utilisateurs de l'internet : 75,000 Internet users as of Sept/05, 3.7% of the population, per ITU (Internet World Stats)

"Only 51 out of 854 households responded to questions on the Internet and cyber café usage, implying that most households surveyed do not have a household member that uses the Internet. Information was collected for 4,163 household members from 854 households. Of these, only 3.9% (162 household members) have an email address. Of the 51 households that had at least one household member that uses the Internet, 72.5% lived in major urban, 27.5% in other urban and none in rural areas. Of the respondents that use the Internet, 71.4% have access to the Internet at school or work. Only 20.4% use Internet cafés." (Towards an African e-Index)

"The main obstacle regarding Internet usage in rural areas is access to electricity and fixed line telephony, both of which are required for conventional Internet use." (Towards an African e-Index)

c) Other / Autre :

  • Digital Opportunity Index (DOI): 0.32 (ITU 2006); 0.35, ranked 113 (ITU 2007)
  • ICT Opportunity Index (ICT-OI?):
  • ICT Development Index (IDI):

2.3  Policy / Politique

The APC page, "ICT Policy in Namibia" has some information and links:

"The main challenges faced in Namibia are to make ICTs cheaper and more accessible. Technologies to deliver always-on Internet access and telephony to even rural communities without connection to the electricity grid are readily available – Schoolnet operates such systems in rural Namibia, for example. What is lacking is an enabling policy environment that allows private initiatives to flourish and entrepreneurs to deliver ICT services to suit communities." (Towards an African e-Index)

2.4  ICT4D/E & ICT training / TIC pour le développement/éducation, et formation en TIC

The Africa Source I meeting for FOSS developers was held in Okahandja on 15-19 March 2004

2.5  Resources / Ressources

3.  Localisation situation / Situation de localisation

3.1  Country web content / Contenu web du pays

3.2  Web content in indigenous languages / Contenu web en langues indigènes

(See also specific language pages.)

3.3  Software localisation / Localisation de logiciel

(See also specific language pages.)

3.4  Projects & organisations / Projets et organisations

3.5  Localisation policy / Politique de localisation

4.  References / Références

APC, "ICT Policy in Namibia" Africa ICT Policy Monitor, ("Politiques de TIC en/au Namibia," Observatoire des politiques des TIC en Afrique, )

Dutcher, Nadine. 2004. Expanding Educational Opportunity in Linguistically Diverse Societies, 2nd. ed. Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics.

International Telecommunications Union (ITU). 2004. African Telecommunication Indicators 2004. Geneva: ITU.

______. 2006. World Information Society Report 2006. Geneva: ITU.

______. 2007. World Information Society Report 2007. Geneva: ITU.

Internet World Stats: Africa. 2006.

Leclerc, Jacques. L'aménagement linguistique dans le monde, "Namibie,"

SIL International, Ethnologue: Languages of the World, "Languages of Namibia,"

Stark, Christoph. 2005. "Namibia." in Gillwald, Alison (ed.), Towards an African e-Index: Household and individual ICT Access and Usage Across 10 African Countries. (Research ICT Africa!, )

UNDP. 2006. ''Beyond scarcity: Power, poverty and the global water crisis. Human Development Report 2006.'' New York: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). [Human development index Adult literacy rate (% ages 15 and older) (HDI) ]

Vodafone. 2005. "Africa: The Impact of Mobile Phones." The Vodafone Policy Paper Series, Number 3, March 2005.

< Mozambique | Countries | Niger >