Namibia needs to be more aggressive in its initiatives to provide independent energy security for its populous: economist
The African Energy sector is currently experiencing a renaissance with a growing number of inter-continental and government-to-government energy trading agreements and a strong surge of local-owned companies is entering as project owners into upstream and midstream projects, energy economist, Zwelakhe Gila has said.
“Namibia has seen initiatives such as the Walvis Bay Port expansion project which looks to increase the country’s Natural Gas importing, storage and regasification facilities,” said the head of Commerce at the Africa Energy Chamber of Commerce in an interview with the Economist.
Gila said that despite the potential of Namibia’s Kudu Gas Field assets, as well as the strategic geographical positioning, the country is still heavily dependent on importing electricity and refined product.
“Despite the many complications that have arisen from the Kudu gas-to-power project most recently, an announcement on the reduction of the planned size of the project, Namibia needs to be more aggressive in its initiatives to provide independent energy security for its populous,” he added.
According to Gila South Africa’s rather diverse power production capabilities has allowed it to sell electricity to Namibia through the soon expiring Eskom Supply Contracts and energy security needs to be treated as national security.
“Solutions to heavy reliance on imported power have been replicated and solved repeatedly all over the world. In Namibia however, we have seen a relatively slow mobilization of modern energy solutions,” he added.
It is important to note that there has been an increase in projects to solve the energy import dependency which we are confident will assist in the import dependency, Gila said.
“Attracting Foreign Direct Investment’s has notably been a key strategy to fast track such projects, however investors need to feel assurance in the respective regulatory framework as well as support from the Namibian government,” he added.
All of Africa is facing rather similar energy issues which culminate to become an ‘African’ issue as opposed to an issue for any single country, he said.
“Even a country like South Africa with the most wide-reaching energy systems still faces occasional blackouts in major cities and has a rather limited reach to urban areas,” he added.
Gila said Namibia has done a great job at realizing all its potential opportunities to increase energy supply to its grid as well as develop its importing and exporting facilities. However, he said that there has been a slow momentum to realize these projects.
“There have been numerous announcements which have been made by Namcor and other private parties to develop facilities and plants to address such issues which surely shall place Namibia as a reputable energy supplier in the region,” he added.
Meanwhile, Gila believes that the African energy sector is currently in one of the best states that it has ever been as reflected by the growing number of government-to-government bilateral agreements, forecasted increases in merger and acquisition activity expected over the next two years.