Despite efforts to ensure Namibians abroad vote during election time, the numbers are not sufficient for those in the diaspora to be counted during the census.
“Namibians abroad will not be counted, as we will be using the de facto census enumeration methodology. We will count all people who will have slept in Namibia the night of 24 September 2023,” said statistician general Alex Shimuafeni.
The facto census enumeration methodology means enumeration of individuals as of where they are found in the census, regardless of where they normally reside.
On the other hand, the de jure method of enumeration counts individuals where they usually reside, regardless of where they are on census day.
Shimuafeni stated: “Everybody who finds themselves outside of Namibia on 24 September 2023 will not be counted as part of the population. Every individual located inside the borders, regardless of nationality, age or socioeconomic standing, will be counted.”
Politician and diplomat Kaire Mbuende told New Era there is no register of Namibians in the diaspora for obvious reasons.
“You find students who go to other countries and do register themselves at the respective embassies and then find a lot of other Namibians who go there for different reasons without informing the embassy,” said Mbuende, adding that some only go to embassies when they get in
Namibia’s former ambassador to the UN added that even with elections, very few people actually participate in them.
“Moving forward, it will become important to have records of Namibians in the diaspora. A lot of countries actually know how many of their citizens are living out of the country. Yes, and how much money they actually repatriate home,” he noted.
Mbuende said: “I don’t think our diaspora community at this stage we can talk about the transfer of resources, although there can be individuals here and there, they can’t make a major contribution to the budget of the country”.
He said, in the next election, one would have to monitor the situation and see how things turn out.
The NSA states that the census is the only source that provides detailed information on migration patterns, education, persons with disabilities, employment and unemployment, fertility and mortality figures, and other issues critical for planning.
The data collected helps the government in planning for social services, as well as private sector businesses, and international bodies, including development partners and non-governmental organisations.
Speaking from experience in the diaspora community, Mbuende further noted that the Namibian society abroad is numerically and economically insignificant in terms of the role it play in the economy of the country.
Namibia last conducted its census in 2011, where the population stood at 2.1 million. Before that, the NSA conducted their census in 2001, and the country’s population was 1.8 million inhabitants.
The first-ever census in independent Namibia was in 1991, with 1.4 million people tallied that year. - email@example.com