• April 9th, 2020

Namibia’s renewable energy potential …funding infrastructure development through PPPs

Staff Reporter  

WINDHOEK - Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein imparts there is potential for increased investment in renewable energy in Namibia. 
The minister made the statement in a speech delivered on his behalf by the Ministry of Finance Executive Director Ericah Shafudah at the opening of the 5th Annual Public Private Partnerships (PPP) Conference in Windhoek last Friday.
“The focus on energy and, specifically, renewable energy is to contribute to the national objective of secure but sustainable energy supply, thus plugging national energy supply gaps, while securing affordable clean energy,” minister Schlettwein indicated. 
He highlighted that the recent policy reforms to liberalise participation in the energy sector through the initiative of the Modified Single Buyer Model, which allows increasingly for Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to invest in energy generation.  “Potential bankable projects abound for financiers to deploy financing towards projects in the energy sector,” elaborated Schlettwein. 
Green mini-grids, green baseload and energy efficiency are amongst the investment opportunities. 
Schlettwein elaborated that with the focus on the energy sector, it is necessary to explore opportunities in wind, solar and biomass projects in various parts of the country. 
“One potential project that is of major importance in the energy sector is the 25 MW solar plant by the City of Windhoek,” he proclaimed. He said potential PPP investment opportunities include the provision of specialised services in the health and education sectors, housing, water generation, public asset maintenance and land servicing. 
The finance minister disclosed that a PPP identification process is underway after the government procured the services of a consultant through a transparent process.  “The consultants are currently engaging public entities one-on-one to identify prospective PPP projects, which will be screened from a long pipeline to a final number of five bankable projects that may be taken through the PPP process – and finally, to the market,” the minister indicated.  He added the firm would also: “… develop a PPP project screening tool and provide training to public entities on the overall PPP project identification exercise” within the next ten months. 
Schlettwein pointed out that economic growth and development is achieved through investment in core infrastructure and essential public services provided by the government. These areas include – but are not limited to – roads, power, telecommunications, ports, airports, water, health and education. 
“Infrastructure is a growth enabler; thus, leveraging private capital through PPP formations is a key building block for capital formation and economic expansion,” the minister emphasised. 
Standard Bank’s Head of Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB) Anne Juuko said at the conference that the bridging of the infrastructure deficit in the country can only happen by increasing or intensifying investment in this area. 
“It is common knowledge that public infrastructure development is the responsibility of government.  However, it is not a secret that government alone cannot foot the bill for the construction of infrastructure, especially not during this current economic climate and other competing priorities that it is saddled with at the moment”, she noted.
She further perceived that PPPs are a very feasible and viable mode of creating infrastructure for Namibia. “Although it is expected of the public sector to play the leading role in the building of infrastructure, PPPs provide an environment for the private sector to play a critical role by providing the capital for that infrastructure.”
The programme included presentations by the PPP Committee, PPP Unit, Standard Bank, and PwC, as well as two panel discussions. 
Panellists deliberated on infrastructure financing through PPPs: ‘Opportunities for financiers, investors and developers of PPP projects: creating a strong bond market for infrastructure projects through credit enhancement support’ and ‘Advancement on Renewable Energy (IPPs)’. 
In addition to serving as a forum for the public and private sectors to exchange information on effective practices and the generation of ideas on PPPs, the conference also provided a platform for investors, developers, financiers, executives from the private sector, and senior government officials to network. Officials of various government ministries, members of the diplomatic corps, economists, financiers and developers attended the conference – which is hosted annually by the Ministry of Finance, Standard Bank and PwC Namibia. 

Staff Reporter
2019-11-13 10:06:40 | 4 months ago

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