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NIEC 2023 Panel Calls for Sustained, Diversified Investment Across Namibia’s Energy Value Chain

Day 2 of NIEC 2023 featured a high-level panel discussion that explored Namibia’s current energy investment landscape and its pathway to achieving long-term and diversified growth.

Day 2 of NIEC 2023 featured a high-level panel discussion that explored Namibia’s current energy investment landscape and its pathway to achieving long-term and diversified growth.

The second day of the Namibia International Energy Conference (NIEC) 2023 featured a panel discussion exploring the investment landscape in Namibia, with a slate of high-level energy players sharing their insights into howthe emerging oil producer can foster long-term and diversified growth.

Moderated by Oliver Dickson, Business Reporter for South Africa’s national public radio station, SAfm, the panel featured Shiwana Ndeunyema, Acting Managing Director (MD), National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (NAMCOR); Baronice Hans, MD, Bank Windhoek; Kauna Ndilula, Advisory Board Member, Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board; Dr. Klaus Endresen, Chairman, Namibia Petroleum Operators Association; and Osvaldo Inácio, Executive Director of Sonangol and Chairman of SONILS.

Following a wave of commercial hydrocarbon discoveries made in 2022 and 2023, Namibia continues to make great strides towards harnessing its oil and gas resources. As such, the southern African country has become one of the most attractive investment destinations in the region due to favorable regulatory reforms, which have cemented ties with leading international oil companies including TotalEnergies, ExxonMobil, ReconAfrica and QatarEnergy.

“We’ve got a flourishing exploration and appraisal industry, however, the development and production industry is still new to us,” stated Shiwana Ndeunyema, Acting MD for NAMCOR, adding, “We need to be able to understand where it is we want to participate and where we can add value, while creating value for service companies and local businesses to participate in exploration and production.”

The panelists discussed the importance of financial institutions and how the development of effectivemanagement services and processes can optimize the flow of capital into Namibia’s energy landscape. Furthermore, it was highlighted that trusted financial partners, firmly rooted within the country, will serve as a requisite for future growth and development.

“When you look at investment in the sector, it is fundamental to acknowledge economic growth. We need to ask ourselves how we bring investment into the sector, not only towards fossil fuels, but also towards renewable opportunities. We need to look at all our key stakeholders and how we can balance their interests. We need to think about how we approach these opportunities and how we diversify. We need to create confidence in our country and think about how capital will benefit the key stakeholders in this country,” stated Baronice Hans, MD of Bank Windhoek.

Positioning Namibia as a future energy hub within the continent will require significant and diversified investment across the entire energy value chain, backed by international participation. As such, the panelists discussed opportunities for advancements within Namibia’s investment landscape, which is poised to consolidate the industry and foster confidence from investors, service companies and local businesses.

“Companies have had confidence in Namibia, and this includes confidence in the future,” stated Dr. Klaus Endresen, Chairman of the Namibia Petroleum Operators Association, adding that, “When we start moving into a new area, until we might get to the revenue, you will go through many phases, take many risks, and that is what we do in our industry.”

It was further noted that the exploitation of hydrocarbons will enable Namibia – and the wider southern African region – to fast-track its energy transition. As such, the speakers touched on the importance of creating and maintaining an attractive investment landscape within Namibia’s extractive sector. Despite the many risks associated with exploration, panelists expressed confidence in the future of development in Namibia’s energy space.

“Namibia has maintained a very peaceful and significant investment environment that is attractive for participants and their interests,” Kauna Ndilula, Advisory Board Member for the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board, stated, going on to say, “As we present these opportunities, it is important to ensure a stable environment, but also inclusive development. Namibia is a very progressive country and diversification is part of the issues we need to address.”

Maintaining a stable environment that prioritizes diversification and inclusivity was highlighted as a key factor for Namibia to participate in the future of energy development. Additionally, confidence in Namibia’s investment landscape will be based on the country’s collaborative efforts with international players and neighboring countries.

“Angola and Namibia have a shared history that goes back many, many years, which has served to promote a longstanding relationship between our countries,” stated Osvaldo Inácio, Executive Director of Angola’s Sonangol and Chairman of SONILS, concluding, “We need to open the door for young, talented people, and our progression with our friends in Namibia will incorporate shared experiences. It is my belief that we will benefit from what other countries can teach us and in essence, that is what we are dealing with here today.”

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