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Top French University links up with Mines and Energy Ministry to discuss academic cooperation

Top French University links up with Mines and Energy Ministry to discuss academic cooperation

Sciences Po, one of France’s top universities, recently met with the Ministry of Mines and Energy on the sidelines of the African Energy Chamber’s (AEC) Invest in African Energy Forum in Paris to discuss efforts to advance academic cooperation across the energy sector, with the Ministry reiterating its focus on capacity building through global partnerships.

The meeting was attended by the Minister of Mines and Energy, Hon Tom Alweendo, and HE Albertus Aochamub, Namibia’s Ambassador to France, Spain, Italy, and Portugal, as well as Sciences Po representatives, including Vanessa Scherrer, Vice Minister for International Affairs, Professor Giacomo Luciani, Mark Maloney, Executive Director and Vice Dean of the Paris School of International Affairs. Furthermore, NJ Ayuk, the Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber, was present at the meeting, as well as Carlos Bellorin, Associate Director of IHS Markit.

According to a statement by the African Energy Chamber, the meeting in Paris was a conversation between both parties about the role that academic inclusion, opportunity, and training will play in driving Namibia’s energy agenda.

“Both the Ministry and Sciences Po outlined the need to advance capacity building in Namibia, with the organizations discussing opportunities for establishing a formal partnership to enable student exchange as well as high-level workforce training and on-the-ground experience,” read the statement by the AEC.

Meanwhile, the French tertiary institution’s Vice Minister for International Affairs emphasized the need to do more with Namibia, especially with its energy sector seeing a surge of development following the discovery of three oil and gas finds in 2022 and 2023 by Shell, Qatar Energy and TotalEnergies, and the kickoff of a large-scale green hydrogen development.

“We want to do more with Namibia. There are many global challenges that we must tackle while we are engaged at heart, and we realize that we can only address them with partners at the international level. We are looking at not only having students come to Paris but in sending students to Africa to study,” said Scherrer.

Moreover, Sciences Po reasserted its goal of expanding its footprint and collaboration with the African continent. The partnership will see a reciprocal exchange whereby Namibian students will study in Paris while Sciences Po students will engage in internship and job shadowing in Namibia.

Accordingly, the country is committed to advancing local content and capacity building, with particular emphasis on training energy sector-related personnel.

More specifically, the energy ministry echoed its intention to focus on human capital development to establish a competitive domestic market in-country and avoid overreliance on expatriates. Subsequently, the Ministry is looking at improving global and regional relations to scale up the local workforce on the back of partnerships.

“Energy is not a country or regional challenge, but a global one. As Namibia, we find ourselves in a good space with three recent oil discoveries in a short space of time and all of which are commercial. We have discovered oil in the middle of the energy transition, and according to many, we need to focus on renewables. But apart from oil, we have resources such as green hydrogen, so people ask us how we can embrace both. Is there a contradiction? Not at all. The energy transition, we all agree, is important. But when people talk about a just energy transition, we understand that to mean a transition that is not in a straight line but a journey,” Alweendo said.

The Invest in African Energy Forum in Paris, organized by the AEC in partnership with Rystad Energy and Afreximbank, is centered on strengthening Africa-Europe relations while advancing investment in untapped energy opportunities across the continent.

The discussions built on a previous partnership deal signed between the French institution and the University of Namibia whereby Namibian students will study abroad at Sciences Po, as well as the institution’s introduction of its Masters in Energy program – covering every facet of the global energy sector, according to the AEC. “With a new deal on the table between Namibia and Sciences Po, student exchange and bilateral cooperation are expected to improve significantly.”

The Executive Chairman of the AEC acknowledged that the Sciences Po institution building partnerships around Africa would be significant, underscoring that they are committed to supporting these partnerships.

“We want to see Africans look global but act local. The Chamber fully supports this initiative, recognizing that energy will be a springboard for economic growth and expansion,” said Ayuk.

Namibia, France Academic Cooperation to Bolster Capacity Building for the Frontier Market
(photograph by African Energy Chamber)


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