Namibia - Country Commercial Guide
Business Travel

Includes information on business customs, travel advisory, visa requirements, currency, language, health, local time, business hours and holidays, acceptable business etiquette, dress, business cards, gifts, temporary entry of materials and personal belongings, etc.

Last published date: 2020-08-29

Business Customs:

For meetings with senior level managers, it is expected that you make an appointment well in advance.  It is difficult to schedule meetings from mid-December to mid-January due to the holiday season.  Men generally wear suits and ties for business meetings.  Women can wear business suits or dresses.  English is the official language and is widely spoken.  Business cards are useful and widely used.  Greetings should be in the form of a normal handshake.  Greetings are an integral part of Namibian culture.  It is important to first exchange greetings and pleasantries with business counterparts before launching into substantive discussions.  Personal relationships are important.

Travel Advisory:

Please see: State Department consular information sheet

Visa requirements:

Namibia does not require visas for U.S. citizens traveling to Namibia for tourist purposes for stays up to 90 days.  Obtaining a business visa prior to travel is advised, even though according to the Namibian government regulations, U.S. citizens traveling on business are not required to obtain a visa prior to travel if the visit will not exceed 90 days.  In practice, some business travelers have been stopped at port of entry when stating their purpose of entry as work.

The Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety, and Security (MHAISS) grants renewable and non-renewable temporary employment permits for a period of up to 12 months for skills not locally or readily available.  However, work permits and long-term residence permits are subject to bureaucratic hurdles.  Complaints about delays in renewing visas and work permits are not uncommon. 

For the most up-to-date information regarding visa requirements, please contact the Namibian Embassy in the United States, MHAISS, or the Namibian Investment Center at the following addresses:   

Embassy of the Republic of Namibia
1605 New Hampshire Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
Telephone: (202) 986-0540
Fax: (202) 986-0443
 http://www.namibianembassyusa.org/

Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety, and Security
Cohen Building
Kasino Street
Private Bag 13200
Windhoek, Namibia
Tel. +264-61-292 2111
Fax +262-61-292 2185
http://www.mha.gov.na/

Namibia Investment Center (NIC) and Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB)
Brendan Simbwaye Square, Goethe Street
Private Bag 13340
Windhoek, Namibia
Tel: +264-61-283-7335
Fax: +264-61-220278
E-mail: nic@mti.gov.na
http://www.mti.gov.na/


“U.S. Companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States are advised that security evaluations are handled via an interagency process. Visa applicants should go to the following link(s):  State Department Visa Website

Currency:  

The Bank of Namibia (BoN) is the regulatory body that oversees the exchange of currency.  To learn more about foreign exchange regulations see:      
https://www.bon.com.na/Regulations/Currencies-and-Exchanges-Act,-1933/Exchange-Control-Regulations,-1966.aspx

All eight commercial banks (identified above) are authorized to act as foreign exchange dealers.  The Namibia Bureau de Change (Pty) Limited is also an authorized dealer, but has limited authority.
All eight commercial banks are subscribers to the Society for Worldwide Inter-bank Financial Telecommunications (S.W.I.F.T).

Telecommunications/Electronics:

The telecommunications infrastructure is well developed in Namibia. Telecom Namibia, the government-owned fixed line telecommunications operator, provides basic telephone services, multimedia services such as data connections for Internet access, broadband services and digital lease lines.


There are several operators of mobile data and telephone services:

Company

Ownership

Services and Technology

Telecom Namibia

100 percent government

GSM/W-CDMA/LTE/4G Wireless voice and data

MTC

65 percent government, 35 percent private

GSM/GPRS/3G/4G mobile voice and data

 

 

 

There are other players in the market that provide Internet and IT services.

Transportation:  

There are no direct flights between the United States and Namibia.  Major airlines flying to Namibia include Air Namibia, South African Airways, British Airways-Comair, KLM, Ethiopian Airlines, and Qatar Airways.  Air Namibia offers regular domestic and regional service, as well as international service to Frankfurt.  The global COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted air travel to Namibia, and airlines may not be operating in accordance with their regular schedules.  For more information on Air Namibia, click on: http://www.airnamibia.com.na/.  Smaller charter flight operators are also available in Windhoek and Walvis Bay.  

There are numerous car rental companies in the country, with most based in Windhoek. The majority of car rental companies are members of the Car Rental Association of Namibia (CARAN).  While several common American and European firms are members of CARAN, there are exceptions such as Hertz.
The national rail operator, TransNamib, offers train service from Windhoek to most major towns. However, train travel is slow and not a popular choice.  Private companies offer bus and taxi services on domestic and regional routes.

Language:

English is the official language, although it is rarely the first language of most Namibians.  Oshiwambo is the main language spoken at home by nearly half the population.  At least a dozen other local languages are spoken.  Afrikaans is often the medium of communication when a group of people do not share the same ethnicity (and first language).  German is spoken by a small minority.

Health:

Windhoek’s dry, windy climate can cause dry skin and chapped lips.  Because of fine dust and desert pollen in the air, visitors who suffer from allergies or respiratory ailments should bring appropriate medication.  Visitors who anticipate spending time outdoors should use sun block, hats, and skin-covering clothing. 

The national prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS among adults is estimated at 11.5 percent in Namibia.  Windhoek does not have malaria, and visitors remaining in the capital do not need to take anti-malarial medication, but malaria does exist in some northern and eastern areas of Namibia.  Visitors to those areas should begin taking anti-malaria medication before arrival as prescribed by medical professionals.  Tap water is potable throughout Namibia; bottled water is widely available as well. 

Modern health care facilities are available in most urban areas, particularly in Windhoek.  Note that doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health care services.  Supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas and medical evacuation coverage is inexpensive locally and well advised.

Local time, business hours, and holidays:

Namibia is GMT+ 2 hours.
Typical Business Hours:
Offices: Mon-Fri 8:00- 17:00
Banks: Mon-Fri 9:00- 15:30 Sat 8:30-12:00

Temporary Entry of Materials and Personal Belongings:

Goods entering the country on a temporary basis may be exempted from import duties and taxes in accordance with customs procedures for each item.