Have you ever wondered how similar or different two countries are? The Country Similarity Index attempts to quantify how similar countries are to each other relative to other countries. The index is a statistically-based way to measure this. It weighs equally five major aspects of countries: their demographics, culture, politics, infrastructure, and geography. The methodology is exactly the same for each country. The research combines 1,000 different data points to arrive at the conclusions.
Namibia is a Sub-Saharan African county. The five most similar countries to it are also located in the southern-most portion of Africa and have English as one of their official languages. Furthermore, these countries are also mostly Protestant. In addition, the top five countries all drive on the left and use 3’6″ railroad track gauge. They also have used the South African Rand as currency as legal tender at one time or another. Furthermore, these countries have a drier and more temperate climate than other African countries closer to the equator.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Namibia
- Botswana and Namibia are the two main countries where the Kalahari Desert is located. They are extremely sparsely populated. The economies of both countries are dependent on mining, especially diamonds. However, Namibia borders the Atlantic Ocean, while Botswana is landlocked. Although most people in both countries natively speak Niger-Congo languages, they also have a few speakers of the Khoisan language family.
- South Africa had ruled Namibia from the end of World War I to 1990, so it is no surprise that the countries are quite similar. The majority of the people in both countries have African ancestry, but also between 5 to 10 percent of their population has European ancestry. Although Namibia has its own currency, the South African Rand is also legal tender. Both countries have many Afrikaans speakers, although it is not an official language in Namibia. One difference is that South Africa’s people are relatively wealthier and its infrastructure is better developed.
- Lesotho is another country that has huge ties to South Africa, in fact it is completely surrounded by it. Lesotho and Namibia both have public holidays for Christmas, Easter, Ascension, and Africa Day. Their legal systems are both a unique mixture of common and civil law. Their laws are also fairly similar, although Lesotho has more restrictions on abortion. The biggest difference between them is climate. Lesotho’s average temperature is much colder than Namibia, due to its high elevation.
- Zimbabwe is yet another former British colony on this list. Since independence, the leaders of both countries have promoted socialism. In practice, both Zimbabwe and Namibia have presidents that are elected by popular vote, although Namibia has a prime minister appointed by the president as well. Their court systems are also similar. Both have their supreme court judges recommended by judges and appointed by the president.
- Eswatini also borders South Africa, but it is closer to the Indian Ocean than the Atlantic. Both countries rely on hydropower to create energy. They also both primarily use Type M electrical outlets. However, Eswatini is an absolute monarchy, not a democracy. Their agriculture is a lot different as well. Namibia mostly grows millet, while Eswatini mostly grows corn.
- Kenya, 7. Zambia, 8. Ghana, 9. Tanzania, 10. Malawi
The least similar countries to Namibia are all located in Asia and border the Pacific Ocean. They have especially little in common culturally or demographically to Namibia. In addition, all of these countries get a more rainfall on average than Namibia. They tend to be less religious as well. Another difference is that these countries are far more densely populated and have a lot of skyscrapers in stark contrast to Namibia.
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Namibia
- Japan‘s demographics and culture are very different from Namibia. Its population is far older and its language is completely unrelated to those spoken in Namibia. Its infrastructure is also far more developed. However, both countries drive on the left and use the same railroad track gauge, 3’-6″. Japan’s climate is much cooler and it is much more heavily forested.
- South Korea is another country in East Asia that has a temperate climate. South Korea’s infrastructure is not only more developed, like Japan, but also uses significantly different standards. It has standard track gauge, drives on the right side of the road, and uses Type C, F electrical outlets. While their cultures are significantly different, both countries do still have a significant percentage of Christians, although South Korea is less religious and has more Buddhists.
- Taiwan, like Japan, is a densely populated country located on an island in the Pacific Ocean. Most of its people are ethnically Chinese. Its standard of living is much higher than Namibia. One similarity is that both countries are democratic and use the semi-presidential form of government. However, Taiwan allows same sex marriage, while Namibia criminalizes same sex relationships. Namibia also allows gambling, unlike Taiwan.
- North Korea‘s government is far more authoritarian than Namibia. North Korea has very strict gun control and drug laws, in contrast to Namibia. Its infrastructure is also quite different since they drive on the right and use Type C, F electrical outlets. However, both countries have relatively high percentages of their population in the military, although Namibia’s military capability is much more limited than North Korea. Its climate is also significantly colder.
- Singapore is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Like Taiwan, a large portion of its population is ethnically Chinese. It is much more religiously diverse and its people have a higher standard of living than Namibia. Still, one big similarity is that English is the official language in both countries and they also both drive on the left side of the road.
- China, 7. Qatar, 8. Kuwait, 9. Brunei, 10. Bangladesh
Namibia is like if Botswana was more like Guinea
Botswana is the most similar country to Namibia, according to the Index. However, they do have a few differences. While Guinea is far different from Namibia, the data indicates that it does have a few aspects that are more similar to Namibia than Botswana. Both Guinea and Namibia border the Atlantic Ocean. Namibians and Guineans also tend to be younger and less well educated than people from Botswana. They also tend to get more of their electricity from hydropower, since Botswana primarily relies on coal. Unlike Botswana, Namibia and Guinea do not have the death penalty.
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