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NIEC 2023 Advances Namibia’s Roadmap Towards a Just Energy Transition

Day 2 of NIEC 2023 featured a panel discussion focusing on Namibia’s energy transition strategy and its potential to serve as a sustainable energy capital on the continent.

Day 2 of NIEC 2023 featured a panel discussion focusing on Namibia’s energy transition strategy and its potential to serve as a sustainable energy capital on the continent.

The Namibia International Energy Conference (NIEC) 2023 – taking place under the theme, “Shaping the Future Towards Value Creation” – set forth  Namibia’s roadmap towards a just and sustainable energy transition during a dynamic panel discussionon Thursday.

Moderated by Sophi Masipa, Co-Founder of pan-African consultancy company, Mwungano ESG, the panel featured Shakwa Nyambe, Managing Partner, SNC Incorporated; Patty Karuaihe-Martin, Managing Director (MD), NamibRe and Co-Chair, UNEP Finance Initiative; Florival Luis Mucave, Chairman, Mozambican Energy Chamber (CEM); Ezinne Nnebocha, Group Marketing and Sales Manager, Central, East and Southern Africa, SLB; and Hafeni Motsi, Senior Energy Investment Analyst, Namibia Investment & Promotion Board.

As African governments, energy stakeholders and industries continue to define the narrative of what a just transition should look like in Africa, the panel discussed how Namibia should navigate its own energy transformation. Stressing the significance of decarbonization and a shift towards renewable energy sources, the panelists noted the long-term benefits of the energy transition for Namibia, a country that is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

“It is very good to hear that Africa is taking Africa’s main challenges into its own hands. It is clear that Africa wants to craft solutions to our own energy issues. The African contribution to global emissions is minimal, yet economic and geographic factors make it the most vulnerable continent,” stated Patty Karuaihe-Martin, MD for Namibia’s parastatal reinsurance company, NamibRe and Co-Chair of global partnership organization, UNEP Finance Initiative.

The panel highlighted gas production and monetization as a solution with regards to funding renewable energy developments in the country, while bringing much-needed energy to Namibia and the region. The speakers noted that the country’s untapped hydrocarbon resources will have an important role to play with regards to the future of decarbonization.

“We have to start by reframing the conversation. When we talk about the energy transition, what are we transitioning from and what are we transitioning to?” prompted Florival Luis Mucave, Chairman of the energy sector organization, CEM, further stating, “Decarbonizing our economies before we industrialize will not be beneficial to Africa. We need to stop the debate about the transition before we solidify our strategies towards industrialization. We need to establish our own pace and objectives.”

While focusing on the importance of collaborations and partnerships to facilitate the energy transition within Africa, it was noted that support from bilateral and multilateral development organizations will be imperative for Namibia to develop and implement its own energy strategies.

“First and foremost, we need to be in a position to define what a just transition means for us as Namibians. We don’t need to adopt a position that will be imposed upon us by people that don’t know our story,” stated Hafeni Motsi, Senior Energy Investment Analyst for the non-profit Namibia Investment & Promotion Board, adding, “The role we want to play is one where maximum social and economic beneficiation is taken within our country. We see Namibia as having the potential to become the sustainable energy capital for Africa.”

A just and equitable transition in Namibia will require the country to develop its own energy strategies for the future. Unique challenges for the country means that the government and key players within the industry will need to look closely at what approaches Namibia can take with regards to decarbonization efforts.

“When it comes to the transition, it’s not a uniform, one-size-fits-all process,” said Shakwa Nyambe, Managing Partner for full-service law firm, SNC Incorporated, going on to say, “We have different challenges and different opportunities. Our energy approach is very clear and it’s fortunate that our government has set up an energy policy that takes into consideration how we will approach the energy transition.”

Speaking with regards to the oil and gas industry’s commitment towards reducing emissions, Ezinne Nnebocha, Group Managing and Sales Manager for Central, East and Southern Africa at SLB, stated, “We have to take accountability, as an industry, for what we’ve done in the past. As a service company, we are 100% committed to reducing our emissions in the oil and gas industry.” With Namibia currently on the precipice of major energy developments following the recent discoveries of oil and gas offshore, all forms of energy will need to be developed in order for the country to attain energy security and access for the benefit of its citizens. The panel noted that Namibia will need to take into consideration how the energy transition will affect its industrialization efforts, highlighting the need to establish its own pace and policies in order for the transition to be just and equitable

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