Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia, is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. Although it does not border Zimbabwe, less than 200 metres of riverbed (essentially the Zambia/Botswana border) separates them at their closest points. It gained independence from South Africa on 21 March 1990, following the Namibian War of Independence.
Cannabis is illegal in Namibia, although as with many sub-Saharan African countries, is use is well-established and generally socially accepted. Cultivation is limited, and most of the cannabis produced is consumed domestically. However, the country’s growing importance as a distribution point for cocaine from Brazil and cannabis from South Africa and Angola has led authorities to adopt increasingly restrictive drug policies.
Drug policy enforcement is the responsibility of the Drug Law Enforcement Unit (DLEU) of the Namibian Police force, which does not have access to sufficient capital, manpower or equipment to successfully combat the well-organised trafficking outfits. For example, drug-detection canine units are only present in the capital, Windhoek, while other entry points are left unguarded.
Namibia cooperates with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs’ Cooperative Organisation (SARPCCO) to multilaterally combat drug trafficking in the region. Namibia is also party to the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and became a signatory to the 1988 UN Drug Convention in 2009. Arrests for cannabis and all other illicit drugs have been increasing in recent years, as Namibia’s importance as a distribution point to other countries in Africa and Europe increases—along with the intensity of police actions.