10 Facts About Hunger In Namibia

Last weekend Namibia lost against Argentina the last match of its Rugby World Cup adventure.

But Namibia faces another challenge – one that will last long after the rugby boots have been hung up and the pitches cleared. The World Food Programme works with the Namibian government to tackle hunger in the country that, whilst famous for its rugby, also suffers from droughts and flooding – making it a struggle for people to grow and access food. 

Here are eight facts about hunger in Namibia.

1) Namibia is the most arid country south of the Sahara and is prone to intermittent drought and floods. 

2) Two serious droughts have occurred in the past three years – drought this year reduced national crop yields to 46 percent below the sixteen-year average.

3) More than 70 percent of the population rely on agriculture for all or part of their livelihood.

4) Around 370,000 people are estimated to be vulnerable to hunger in Namibia and according to The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015 report (FOA, IFAD, WFP), 42.7 percent of the population was undernourished in 2014.

5) The price of maize meal, the staple food in Namibia, has gone up by as much as 160 percent in some areas, making it difficult for people to afford the food they need.

6) Namibia is ranked 51 out of 120 countries by the 2014 Global Hunger Index which measures the hunger levels of the world’s countries. While Namibia has improved, this ranking still indicates “a serious food problem”.

7) In the period 2003 to 2013, stunting rates of children under five was reduced from 29 to 24 percent, with stunting prevalence in rural areas higher than in urban centres.

8) Poverty, unemployment and HIV /AIDS remain major factors behind hunger and undernourishment in Namibia.

9) Despite significant reductions achieved between 1990 and 2014, national prevalence rates for poverty (at 26.9 percent of the population), unemployment (at 29.9 percent) and HIV /AIDS (at 16.9%)8 remain major factors in the relatively high incidence of hunger and undernourishment in Namibia.

10) Despite its classification as an upper-middle income country, with a GINI coefficient of 0.58, income distribution in Namibia remains one of the most unequal in the world. 


1) Namibia Crop Prospects, Food Security and Drought Situation Report, June 2015. Namibia Early Warning and Food Information Unit, Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Namibia.
2) Namibia Population and Housing Census 2011. Namibia Statistics Agency.
3) Demographic and Health Survey 2013, Ministry of Health and Social Services, Namibia

Learn more about hunger and malnutrition from WFP's comprehensive list of Facts About Hunger and Malnutrition.