Skip to content
Key findings
  • A majority (52%) of Namibians say the government has not been effective in providing serviced land and housing in urban areas.
  • A majority (57%) of respondents say the government is performing “fairly well” or “very well” in providing water/sanitation services, even though most rural residents lack access to infrastructure for these services.
  • Substantial minorities of the population say that obtaining medical care is difficult (35%) and requires long wait times (44%). Still, 57% say that their ability to get health care has improved in recent years.
  • Two-thirds (67%) of Namibians say the government is performing “fairly well” or “very well” on improving basic health services, but that is the lowest approval rating since 2002.
  • While only 43% of Namibians say they have electricity most or all of the time, a slim majority (51%) approve of the government’s performance in providing a reliable electricity supply.

In its Harambee Prosperity Plan, the Namibian government echoes concerns about its ability to deliver high-quality services as “a prerequisite for rapid growth, job creation and poverty eradication” (Republic of Namibia, 2016, p. 19; City of Windhoek, 2017; Weber & Mendelsohn, 2017; Delgado, 2017). The plan calls for stronger performance management, including citizen satisfaction surveys. The first such survey, in 2017, found satisfaction levels averaging 54% across 19 public institutions, well below the 70% target (Immanuel, 2018).

Complementary data from a new Afrobarometer survey provide insights on the presence of needed infrastructure and citizens’ perceptions and experiences with regard to accessing four key public services – serviced land/housing, water/sanitation, health care, and electricity.

The government receives a failing grade on the provision of serviced land and housing in urban areas. Citizen assessments are more favourable when it comes to health care, water/sanitation, and electricity. But many Namibians still lack access to basic service infrastructure, especially in rural areas, and challenges such as difficulty obtaining services, long wait times, and unreliable supply are common.

These results, while often complimentary of government efforts, suggest that providing basic services to most citizens will require a redoubling of efforts and resources to realize pledges made in national development plans.

Ellison Tjirera

Ellison Tjirera is a research associate with the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) in<br /> Namibia.