Namibia follows a largely independent foreign policy, with persisting affiliations with states that aided the independence struggle, including Cuba. With a small army and a fragile economy, the Namibian Government’s principal foreign policy concern is developing strengthened ties within the Southern African region. A dynamic member of the Southern African Development Community, Namibia is a vocal advocate for greater regional integration. Namibia became the 160th member of the UN on 23 April 1990. On its independence it became the fiftieth member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
Namibian Defence Force
Namibia does not have any enemies in the region although it has been involved in various disputes regarding borders and construction plans. It consistently spends more as a percentage of GDP on its military than all of its neighbours, except Angola. Military expenditure rose from 2.7% of GDP in 2000 to 3.7% in 2009, and the arrival of 12 Chengdu J-7 Airguard jets in 2006 and 2008 made Namibia for a short time one of the top arms importers in Sub-Saharan Africa. By 2015, military expenditure was estimated at between 4% and 5% of GDP.
The constitution of Namibia defined the role of the military as “defending the territory and national interests.” Namibia formed the Namibian Defence Force (NDF), comprising former enemies in a 23-year bush war: the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) and South West African Territorial Force (SWATF). The British formulated the plan for integrating these forces and began training the NDF, which consists of a small headquarters and five battalions.
The United Nations Transitional Assistance Group (UNTAG)’s Kenyan infantry battalion remained in Namibia for three months after independence to help train the NDF and to stabilise the north. According to the Namibian Defence Ministry, enlistments of both men and women will number no more than 7,500. The current minister of the Namibian Military is Hon Penda YaNdakolo.
Administrative divisions of Namibia
Namibia is divided into 14 regions and subdivided into 121 constituencies. The administrative division of Namibia is tabled by Delimitation Commissions and accepted or declined by the National Assembly. Since state foundation four Delimitation Commissions have delivered their work, the last one in 2013 under the chairmanship of Judge Alfred Siboleka.
Regional councillors are directly elected through secret ballots (regional elections) by the inhabitants of their constituencies.
Local authorities in Namibia can be in the form of municipalities (either Part 1 or Part 2 municipalities), town councils or villages.