Good morning and welcome to the Namibia International Energy Conference 2023.

Let me begin by expressing my gratitude for the wonderful introduction, and more importantly, for the exceptional leadership and unwavering dedication of Rich Africa in expanding and enhancing the Namibian International Energy Conference year after year.

I would also like to take a moment to thank all of you for making the trip to the Land of the Brave. It is indeed an interesting time for Namibia, Africa, and the developing world. We are faced with choices that will define the future of the rest of the world… and through engagements like these, we slowly oil the system so that it can gear us towards the right decisions. I would like to use my keynote address today to take a helicopter view and highlight four critical issues that I trust this conference will address.

Issue 1: The global importance of energy requires careful attention, as demonstrated by the current tensions in geopolitics.

Issue 2: Namibia and Africa as a whole are experiencing a severe shortage of energy, and it is crucial to utilize all available resources to enhance the well-being of the population.

Issue 3: The recent oil discoveries in the country will only be beneficial if managed transparently and inclusively, with a focus on local content and the involvement of the next generation.

Issue 4: The need to be responsible custodians of a valuable resource and manage it sustainably for the present and future generations.

The first issue is all-encompassing, because, by its very design, it requires us to apply it to every aspect of how we manage our resources. Diligence is the keyword here. Energy is a crucial resource that affects the economic and social well-being of countries around the world.

We need to understand the complexities of energy through the economic, environmental, and political crises we face today, revealing what is really going on and what we should do in response. This is a critical time for our planet that demands critical thinking. We are a fossil-fuelled economy and currently cannot substitute it with one fuelled by renewables. We lack the minerals and materials needed. Even if we did have the materials and minerals, we do not have the time and the money. We have made assumptions that someone out there has found a solution, and therefore everything is fine. Everyone is referencing each other in a Hall of Mirrors, without perhaps seriously looking into how to manage the energy transition.

We cannot manage the energy transition issue in a simplistic manner. That will be like having a hardcore environmental activist making a statement demanding that all mining in the world must end. And after making his statement, he then climbs into his electric vehicle, drive down the road, and buy a computer – all dependent on mining. We must decide between growth and de-growth when it comes to our economies. If we are going to grow our economies – as we have decided to – it means we are going to demand more energy. Furthermore, the availability and access to energy sources are not evenly distributed, leading to geopolitical tensions among nations. It is essential therefore to handle the energy issue with caution and care to prevent conflicts and ensure sustainable development. The current geopolitical tensions are a clear indication of the importance of giving due diligence to the energy issue.

This brings me to the second issue, that of utilizing all available resources. According to the Energy Observatory Agency, on average, a solar power plant has been able to generate electricity for only 11% of a 365-day period based on reported data, while wind power was online for 25% of the time during the same period. In contrast, coal was online for 92% of the same period. While there may be several factors that could have impacted this, the numbers suggest that many of our newer energy resources are not being fully utilized and are sitting idle for most of the time.

Namibia and many other countries in Africa face a significant energy deficit, which limits our economic growth and negatively affects the living standards of the citizens. To address this issue, it is vital to make use of all available energy resources, including renewable and non-renewable sources, to improve the livelihoods of people.

Namibia’s Green Hydrogen Ambitions is an example of this. In our Energy Basket, we aim for Oil, Gas, Renewables, and other sources to be able to feature. This also warrants us to look at new and mixed forms of financing. Perhaps siding with the school of thought that thinks “Sustainable Financing” must include fossil fuels produced sustainably.

This means that there is a place for renewable technology in our system. It means we need to rather re-ask the questions and find the most realistic way in which we fit the current level of technology, into the current energy demand structure, whilst balancing the people, the economy, and the planet.

The third issue is about the impact on the “person on the ground”. How do we ensure that all Namibians benefit? And by “Namibians” I am not referring to the “connected middlemen who approach investors with their family album instead of their CV”. I am, instead, referring to the deserving sons and daughters who have little or no access. I am talking about the impact of these oil and gas discoveries and how green hydrogen can benefit the ordinary Namibian.

I would also like us to remember that the partnership between state and investor is one of a “mutual agreement”, which allows for parties to share risks and reward. When risk and reward is shared, then everyone benefits, because it is in everybody’s best interest to do well. We are to manage it in such a way that we balance all the stakeholders’ interests. What we cannot and must not, however, neglect is to ensure that the people’s interests are taken care of.

I have no doubt that our recent oil discoveries can and must help unlock industrial activities through the transfer of technology, more value addition in domestic supply sectors, the generation of indirect jobs along the supply chain, and the creation of business opportunities for entrepreneurs from local procurement.

It shall be a requirement for the International Oil Companies to ensure that all services that can immediately be provided by our local entrepreneurs are acquired from local entrepreneurs. In cases where local entrepreneurs are not able to provide certain services, we will need to have a clear program as to how to capacitate local entrepreneurs. This can be done, for example, through joint ventures with experienced international service providers.

While local content policies have the potential to stimulate broad-based economic development, I am also aware that results have been mixed across the world. It is one thing to have a policy and another to have the policy implemented. I am also equally aware that designing a Local Content Policy is complex and that each Local Content Policy must reflect the realities and priorities of the country in question.

The fourth and final issue is about the calling upon all of us to be good stewards of these important resource. Notably, these discoveries have been made in the era of reimaging, which provides the framework for us to reimage our socio-economic landscape in ways that benefit Namibians in the present and the future.

This means that our management and exploitation of natural resources cannot continue ‘business as usual’. We need to manage the resources with a clear understanding that the resources and the benefits derived from them belong to both the current and future generations. We thus need to incorporate the problems of tomorrow in today’s policy, so that we ensure that those who’s blood watered our freedom did not do so in vain.


Therefore, this conference aims to directly address Namibia’s energy issues by “shaping the future of energy towards value creation”, through uniting stakeholders.

with a common agenda, and facilitating large-scale energy developments and investment across the renewable and natural gas power generation sectors.

Ours for the next few days is to consider how we should critically think about how to navigate the severe energy shortage in the country and on the continent; it is to ensure that we have a framework for the Namibian on the ground to benefit from the Oil & Gas discoveries and the renewable boom; it is to guarantee that we are responsible custodians of a valuable resource and manage it sustainably for the present and future generations.

The Namibia International Energy Conference has assembled and given us the platform where we can network, facilitate productive deals, attract critical foreign capital, and drive Namibian energy growth.

I thank you!