WINDHOEK (Reuters) - Namibia’s unemployment rate increased to 34 percent of the working population last year from 28.1 percent in 2014, the last time a labour force survey was conducted, the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) said on Wednesday.
The jobless rate edged closer to the all-time high of 37.6 percent seen in 2008 during the global financial crisis.
The agency said the 6.1 basis point increase in the unemployment figure was mainly due to a prolonged drought that has gripped the southern African country since 2015.
Partially due to the drought, as well as a sharp downturn in the construction and commodities sectors, Namibia’s economy expanded by a meagre 0.2 percent in 2016.
The NSA said unemployment was particularly high among those living in rural areas, at 39.2 percent compared to 30.3 percent in urban areas.
The survey showed that 349,383 Namibians were unemployed out of an estimated labour force of 1.5 million. The majority of the labour force, 20.1 percent, was employed in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector.
Reporting by Nyasha Francis Nyaungwa; Writing by Mfuneko Toyana, editing by Ed Osmond