Heading for the ditches? Public perceptions on the state of the economy

13 Aug 2019

In July 2019, Survey Warehouse, Afrobarometer's national partner in Namibia, launched a weekly series of brief newspaper columns based on Round 7 survey findings and designed to raise awareness of issues that may have a bearing on voters and parties leading up to the November general election.


Someone compared the Namibian economy to a boxer backed-up into a corner taking a pounding. A standing eight-count is inevitable; there is no plan for escape.

Times are tough. Namibians are desperate for relief.  

For the first time since 2011/12, a majority of Namibians feel that the country is heading in the wrong direction. The change is substantive: In 2014/15, only about 24% of Namibians felt that the country was heading in the wrong direction; in 2017/18 ,that number nearly doubled to 56%.

In 2017/2018, Namibians were the most negative about the state of the economy they have ever been since 1999/2001. They were also the most pessimistic about the future they have ever been.

All this could make the economy a key issue for the elections later this year. Voters may look at parties with clear strategies on how to turn things around. Key to these strategies will be plans – not promises – to create more jobs. Most Namibians live payday-to-payday and cannot afford loss in income. Some voters may become cynical, and election turnout may suffer.  We live in interesting times.


Produced by Christie Keulder of Survey Warehouse and first published in Republikein, Allgemeine Zeitung, and Namibian Sun newspapers.

All survey data used is sourced from Afrobarometer’s pan-African series of national public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, and society. For more details, please visit www.afrobarometer.org.