Definition of Youth

According to The Namibian, the revised national youth policy defines youth as individuals between 16-30 years.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 21
  • 18
  • XX
  • Female
  • 21
  • 18
  • XX

  • Male homosexual acts are illegal, while female homosexual acts are legal. Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
From 7-13 years old, the state must prove criminal capacity. A child below 7 cannot be held legally responsible for their actions. Source:  UNICEF

Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • 86.45% Male (15-24) %
  • 93.34% Female (15-24) %

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • 45.08%Male %
  • 57.48% Female %

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • 31.90% Male (13-15) %
  • 29.90% Female (13-15) %
  • Year: 2010
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
The national youth policy of Namibia is from 2006, and there is a push to review it soon.

According to Innovations in Civic Participation – Namibia, the national youth policy was first created in 1993. The Namibian reported that this was revised in 2006, “based on human rights and social justice.” The revised policy, “emphasis[ed] employment creation, financial support for young entrepreneurs and access to agricultural land” as well as including citizenship, disability rights, peace, security, education, environment, and reproductive health. In 2012, New Era reported that the National Youth Council of Namibia was reviewing the national youth policy (2006). The National Youth Service provides “skills training and personal development programmes to the youth” over a minimum of three months. Additionally the Namibia Youth Credit Scheme offers micro credit.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
The Directorate of Youth within the Ministry of Youth, National Services, Sport & Culture has responsibility for youth affairs. It aims to:

empower, encourage, and support the full effective and constructive participation of youth in the process of national decision making in accordance with the United Nations World Program of Action for Youth from the year 2000 and beyond.

It delivers programmes on health, employment, training and development, volunteering, rural development, gender, participation and environmental education.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
The National Youth Council of Namibia (NYCN) is an umbrella organisation with affiliated youth NGOs. It seeks to “address the challenges, opportunities and obstacles facing young people in Namibia.” One of its key functions is to “liaise, and advice the Ministry responsible for youth affairs on youth matters.” The National Youth Council Act 3 of 2009 provides the legal basis for the NYCN and the establishment of 13 regional youth forums. The NYCN is a member of The Commonwealth Youth Council.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
NAD 440 million
USD 39.8 million
According to the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure 2013-2016, the total estimated budget for youth affairs within the Ministry of Youth, National Services, Sport & Culture for 2013-2014 was NAD 440 million (USD 39.8 million). According to the World Bank, Namibia spent 22.40% of its government expenditure on education provision in 2008, and 8.37% of its GDP in 2010.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank
Gaps indicate missing data from the original data source. (Accessed August 2013).

Additional Background

The Innovations in Innovations in Civic Participation – Namibia country profile provides useful background information on policy developments:

Country Namibia is located in Southern Africa with the Atlantic Ocean stretching across its western border. Namibia had an estimated population in 2010 of 2.3 million people, of which approximately 989,000 are under the age of 18. Namibia has a GNI per capita of US$ 4,650.

Situational analysis Namibia, like many of its neighbors, faces a large threat from the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Namibia currently has nearly 160,000 orphans and vulnerable children, representing over 30% of the Namibian population under the age of 18. Additionally, Namibia’s rural population suffers from poor infrastructure with only 14% of rural Namibians using improved sanitation facilities. Namibian young people also face issues of high unemployment rates, which some argue has been largely ignored by the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sports and Culture. Recently, a group of Namibian young people gathered to demonstrate and raise awareness for the issue. Deputy Minister Pohamba Shifeta was quoted as saying “I’ve looked at our economy, and it can’t absorb all these young people unless we create new opportunities.” Organizations like the Youth Achievers Empowerment Project and Catholic Aids Action are helping Namibia combat its HIV/AIDS crisis, while government programs such as the National Youth Service and National Youth Credit Scheme help create job opportunities and foster civically engaged young people.

Policy Since independence in 1990, the government has empowered, encouraged, and supported the effective and constructive youth participation of Namibian youth. These programs are in the process of nation building in accordance with the United Nations World Program of Action for Youth for the year 2000 as well as the Commonwealth Plan of Action for Youth Empowerment and the National Youth Policy. This is done to ensure that youth concerns, needs and aspirations are fully integrated in the mainstream of all government policies and actions.