As Namibia positions itself to be a major oil and gas producer, Mines and Energy Minister Tom Alweendo is encouraging investments to mutually benefit both Namibians and investors.

Addressing the Namibia International Energy Conference in Windhoek, Alweendo expressed confidence in Namibia's potential investment returns.

Namibia is evaluating the commercial viability of oil and gas discoveries that could transform Namibia's economy through its energy revolution.

Turning these oil and gas opportunities into wealth, Minister Tom Alweendo says, will only be possible through investments.

"The savvy investor will understand that investing in a developing country like Namibia provides a much greater return on investment. This is so because not only will the investor earn a return on his investment, but the investment in itself would have assisted to transform the economy into a more complex and dynamic one—something that will better serve humanity. It is the savvy investor we would like to attract to our shores, not a knight in shining armour, who is coming to rescue us from a situation of hopelessness."

The minister implored investors to acquire their operational licences and do away with the notion that Namibia lacks the necessary expertise, capital, or infrastructure to build a successful oil and gas industry.

Since the first major discoveries were made, Namibians have questioned how citizens may stand to benefit from these developments, especially without any local content policy in place.

A draft National Upstream Petroleum Local Content Policy is in place, though, that outlines a pathway for Namibian citizens and companies to benefit from oil and gas resources.
This is to be realised by increasing participation in the oil and gas sector, from exploration and production, right through the entire industry value chain.

Oil companies have been implored to have Namibian content plans in place, with the lack of a draft policy deemed no excuse to disregard local procurement.

"As we continue to work on the local content issue, I am more inclined to refer to it simply as Namibian content, because that is really what it is. It focuses on creating in-country value across the entire Namibian economy and ensuring sustainable economic impact from the resources under Namibian soil. The end goal is to spread the wealth generated by these natural resources among Namibians, develop the skills of the Namibian people in oil and gas professions, and promote the establishment of Namibian oil and gas businesses."

Alweendo encouraged Namibian entrepreneurs to play a deliberate role in the development of the emerging industry and to rid themselves of an entitlement attitude.

The minister also stated that Namibia deserves a transition to renewable energy that is not hurried or forced into others' timetables but that takes a pragmatic approach to resolving energy poverty by making its own natural resources part of the solution.



Celma Ndhikwa