Electricity and attractive business climate goes hand in hand

Discussing the issue of trade between the United States of America and Namibia, at the NCCI, Swakopmund branch breakfast meeting, the US Ambassador Mr. Thomas Daughton said there are many elements that go into foresting an attractive business climate and electricity is one major input.

“I suspect you all know that Namibia buys most of its power from outside its borders somewhere between half and two-thirds, depending on the season. That is expensive and there have been nagging questions about the reliability of the supply for a couple of years now and yet this is a country that is recognized as one of the best places in the world for solar power generation. Doesn’t it make more sense to do more to harness a free domestic resource for Namibia’s energy security?” he asked. He continued saying that in terms of price, solar power is now competitive with hydro-carbons as an electricity source. It is also faster and easier to build, and can be implemented in rural areas beyond the national grid.
According to Daughton solar energy is also an area the United States had expertise in, “my government has been working on Namibian energy issues for the last five years. One of the things I worked hard to do after arriving here was to line up Namibia as a partner in the U.S. government’s Power Africa initiative, which works to increase electricity generation across the African continent no matter who the investor is”. Daughton continued saying that without electricity mining, tourism and the port for instance cannot function. This will have a huge impact on jobs, government revenue, foreign investment and development in broad terms. He said all these things are critical to the healthy functioning of Namibia’s economy and yet there appears to be no progress in this area (electricity) in spite of demand and any number of donors and companies standing by to assist.
“I admit my focus on energy and power generation may seem a bit narrow, and you’re probably wondering how it relates to trade with the United States. It does so in two ways. First, how the private investment is handled in the energy sector affects how private investment as a whole is handled in Namibia. And, second, Namibia’s ability to trade effectively with the rest of the world – including with the U.S.- is directly affected by how private investment is encouraged or not and whether that private investment will be able to avail itself of a reliable, sustainable, guaranteed energy supply.
∙The US Ambassadors remark comes in the midst of a recent announcement by the Namibian Petroleum Corporation (Namcor) that an agreement was reached with overseas energy giant, BW Offshore, for a joint development of the Kudu gas field off Southern Namibia.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login