A public policy analyst and international relations expert says Namibia needs to have strategic plans in place to guide the use of foreign direct investment (FDI).
Dr. Marius Kudumo reacted to President Hage Geingob's announcement that Namibia had attracted more than N$10 billion in FDI when he delivered the State of the Nation Address.
President Geingob announced that Namibia managed to attract foreign direct investment worth N$13.2 billion, or 7.2% of its gross domestic product, during the first nine months of 2022.
The high FDI inflows are likely to continue this year on the back of oil discovery appraisals off-shore.
This is further coupled with the commencement of the green hydrogen project feasibility study, to the tune of N$2.5 billion, around the Tsau-||Khaeb National Park.
"This demonstrates growing investor confidence in Namibia. Nevertheless, there is still a need to foster broad-based economic growth across all sectors of the economy," Geingob said.
Dr. Kudumo wants the government to develop strategic plans around those investments to improve the living conditions of citizens and services for the public good.
Namibia thus has an advantage, owing to the heightened need to solve the energy crisis being experienced by major economies.
"There is a lot of interest in alternative sources of energy, but we need to have a plan if we are going to receive this money, a plan of utilization. Because the countries that are going to help us are not just interested in helping us; they have strategic interests that they are advancing. The energy crisis is becoming a global crisis, and those countries are looking after their industries and so on. Now if we are going to receive a lot of money, what is the plan? And we have been talking about youth unemployment, rural development, and the education sector. Is there a plan to improve the conditions? So we must not only look at the investors coming in and giving us money. What is the plan for the utilization of those resources to improve the conditions of people?"
Hyphen Hydrogen Energy, for example, has stated in its bid documents that it intends to create about 15,000 jobs in the first phase.
During an interview with nbc News recently, Hyphen Energy said the concerns of local communities would not be overlooked, particularly in the ||Kharas region.
"That our team engaged with local communities and overwhelmingly found support. There are always questions and concerns about what this means for Luderitz and the region. Overwhelmingly, people are desperate for opportunities. It was sad for us to see how those towns have shrunk as the diamonds have run out. And there is real hope that this industry will drive that much-needed job creation. The question from the community was that they first want jobs in their communities, and we are absolutely committed to that."