Deputy minister of energy Kornelia Shilunga said Namibia’s energy remains insufficient, and the lack of access to clean, affordable and sustainable energy has had devastating results for Namibia – indeed the rest of the Sub-Saharan region – and has created constraints on people’s social and economic progression.
Shilunga stated Friday at the closing of the two-day international energy conference, themed ‘The Energy Mix: Positioning for Investment, Industrialisation and Growth’ in Windhoek.
“Namibia is faced with the critical challenge of fighting and overcoming what has been termed by experts as energy poverty, which is substantiated by the painful fact of the International Energy Agency (IEA) that an estimated 600 million people in Africa lack access to electricity,” she explained.
Shilunga said Namibia’s endeavour to win this battle is driven foremost by the fact that access to energy translates to a better quality of life, is a key to improved health care and unlocks more economic opportunities, especially for the youth.
Deputy minister added: “Namibia has demonstrated its commitment to its energy future and is eager to capitalise on the potential opportunities. The country has set itself along the path to transform into a global hub for green hydrogen. Deliberations have also touched on the need to extensively cement our regional partnerships and strategic synergies for the sake of tapping into wind and solar to increase access to power”. The conference shared notes on how Namibia will navigate the migration towards intermittent sources of energy at a time when oil is being discovered in the country, presenting a massive economic opportunity. It also cemented agreement on the continent’s need to utilise its energy mix to industrialise, as it formulates a just transition to a greener energy mix on its terms. During the conference, NJ Ayuk, chairperson of the Africa Energy Chamber, iterated that a just transition can not exist without oil and gas.
“Being in a varying state of economic, industrial maturity and carbon footprint emission levels, the developed world needs to decarbonise, and Africa needs to industrialise,” said Ayuk.
Specifically in the Namibian context of the recent oil discoveries, the panel discussion on regulatory frameworks recommended that an independent regulator of the upstream oil and gas sector should be established in line with the White Paper on Energy Policy of 1998 and the National Energy Act.