This Is Why Everyone's Talking About Nation of 'Nambia'

President Trump takes grief for referring to nonexistent country twice
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 21, 2017 11:25 AM CDT
New Nation in the News: Nambia. Sort Of
President Trump applauds during a luncheon with African leaders during the United Nations General Assembly Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The nation that seems to be showing up in most headlines Thursday is Nambia, mainly because it doesn't actually exist. In a speech to African leaders Wednesday, President Trump referred to "Nambia" not once but twice, first in his general introduction and then later when he mentioned that "Nambia's health system is increasingly self-sufficient." As the BBC notes, that led to plenty of online jokes, along with people wondering whether he meant Gambia, Zambia, or Namibia. Turns out, it was the last of those. Coverage:

  • For the record: The official White House transcript of the speech made the correction without mention of the mispronunciation. (You can hear for yourself in this video.) But that hasn't slowed a barrage of coverage making light of the president's mistake.
  • One example: At CNN, Anderson Cooper referred to Nambia as a "magical land far, far away" in his recap.

  • Namibia 101: The gaffe has led to a slew of civics-type primers about Namibia. Time, for instance, notes the tiny nation of fewer than 2.5 million people is relatively young, having achieved its independence in 1990. Among the factoids it highlights: Namibia is a big producer of diamonds and it has environmental protection written into its constitution.
  • Silver lining: "If Trump's blunder was worth anything, it was this: The world now knows about Namibia," writes Luis Gomez at the San Diego Union-Tribune. He notes that Namibia also is one of the top global producers of uranium.
  • The main point: The gist of Trump's speech was to tout the region's economic potential (he said he has friends who go there "trying to get rich"), and a member of the African advocacy group ONE praised the intent. "I know 'Nambia' will be the narrative that comes from those remarks, but POTUS is right on this: Africa has tremendous business potential," tweeted rep Ian Koski.
  • Namibia's reaction: Officially, nada. No major government official, including President Hage Geingob, who was present, has said anything publicly about the mistake. But the Washington Post reports that Namibians themselves sound a little miffed and are mocking Trump, like so.
(More President Trump stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.