A strong line-up of African energy ministers are heading to the Namibian International Energy Conference in April 2022, focused on knowledge sharing, regional cooperation and capacity building.
Set to take place from April 20-22, 2022, in Windhoek, the fourth edition of the Namibia International Energy Conference (NIEC) represents the country’s official meeting place for the energy sector. In a recent push to share experiences, lessons learnt and support, top energy ministers from across the African continent have rallied around the conference, and will be attending the NIEC to drive capacity building, knowledge sharing and strategies for accelerated industry growth.
Organized by RichAfrica Consultancy, under the patronage of the Ministry of Mines and Energy led by Hon. Tom Alweendo and supported by the African Energy Chamber, the NIEC comes at a crucial time for the Namibian energy sector. With the country having made two sizeable oil and gas discoveries in 2022 – by international oil majors Shell and TotalEnergies – both domestic and regional stakeholders are focused on ensuring the country realizes its development objectives and usher in a new era of sustained economic growth backed by energy-related investment and development. Under the theme, ‘The Energy Mix: Positioning for industrialization, investment and growth,’ the NIEC convenes regional and global energy stakeholders for two days of intense dialogue on how the country can maximize discoveries while developing a strong and competitive domestic energy industry.
In line with regional cooperation goals, Africa’s energy ministers have declared their support of and commitment towards Namibia’s energy growth. Notably, H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines & Hydrocarbons, Equatorial Guinea, has accepted an invitation by Hon. Tom Alweendo to participate at the event. Representing one of Africa’s most formidable oil and gas economies, Equatorial Guinea – with over 1.5 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas reserves – has been highly successful in monetizing resources and maximizing growth. Projects such as the Gas Mega Hub – a multi-faceted gas development to unlock the potential of both domestic and regional discovered resources by utilizing gas processing and distribution infrastructure – and the 10,000 barrel per day (bpd) Punta Europa refinery – intended to enhance domestic refining capacity to meet regional demand – have made the country an ideal partner regarding hydrocarbon monetization and growth.
Meanwhile, H.E. Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, the Republic of Nigeria will be attending the NIEC to drive a discussion on exploration, production and domestic capacity building. Representing sub-Saharan Africa’s largest oil producing country, with production estimated at 1.36 million bpd, and holding the largest gas reserves in Africa – estimated at over 600 tcf – Nigeria represents one of Africa’s heavyweights. In addition to projects such as the 650,000 bpd Dangote Refinery, the Ogidigben Gas Revolution Industrial Park, the Zabazaba and Etan Integrated Development, and the 614km Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano pipeline, Nigeria has emerged as a frontrunner regarding hydrocarbon legislation, demonstrating the role and value market-driven policies play in driving industry growth. In Namibia, H.E. Chief Sylva will be sharing lessons learnt from the implementation of the country’s Petroleum Industry Bill as well as the Decade of Gas initiative, making a strong case for aligned energy policies in 2022 and beyond.
Moreover, Hon. Bruno Jean-Richard Itoua, Congo’s Minister of Hydrocarbons and current President of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), will be instrumental in driving the discussion on oil and gas, promoting the role hydrocarbons play in driving economic growth. As the third-largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as the home of the African Petroleum Producers Organization (APPO), the Congo represents a particularly valuable partner for Namibia as the country moves to realize its oil and gas potential. With over 2.9 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, modernized regulation such as the Hydrocarbon Code and Gas Master Plan, and a drive to improve local content and capacity building both domestically and regionally, the Congo’s experience will be vital for Namibia.
Similarly, Hon. Peter Chibwe Kapala, Minister of Energy, the Republic of Zambia, has also issued his support of the NIEC, and will be participating in Namibia alongside other regional ministers. Despite the lack of domestic oil and gas reserves, Zambia represents one of the world’s top mineral resource markets, boasting the highest-grade deposits of copper globally – with 6% of the world’s resources -, as well as a highly competitive emerging renewable energy market. As Africa progresses with its transition to a clean energy future and renewable energy technologies play an increasingly important role, Zambia’s potential as an energy transition leader is unmatched, and the minister will promote this in Namibia. While Namibia’s renewable energy sector grows rapidly, particularly with regards to green hydrogen, knowledge sharing between Zambia and Namibia will be critical.
“The NIEC is proud to announce the confirmation of some of Africa’s top energy ministers at its fourth edition in April 2022. Confirmations made by H.E. Obiang Lima, H.E. Chief Sylva, H.E. Itoua and Hon. Kapala have not only demonstrated the importance of the event in driving regional energy dialogue, but the role Namibian energy will play in addressing continental energy poverty while driving economic growth. Led by Hon. Alweendo, Namibia’s Minister of Mines and Energy, the conference is set to be transformational for the country’s energy sector,” states Ndapwilapo Selma Shimutwikeni, convener and Managing Director of RichAfrica Consultancy.
Finally, joining the strong line-up of ministers, APPO Secretary General, Dr. Omar Farouk, alongside the AEC, will be leading a strong delegation of private sector industry players as well as regional and international investors to Namibia. Representing one of the continent’s most esteemed energy organizations, and a key driver of Africa’s oil and gas development, APPO is committed to sharing industry knowledge, capacity building strategies as well as the promotion of local content so as to ensure African producers are energy secure and independent.
Meanwhile, representing the voice of the African energy sector, the AEC is well positioned to unite the public and private sectors, and will do so in Namibia in April. Both APPO and the AEC believe in the role that the private sector will play in Namibia, and will be pushing for joint ventures, public-private partnerships and cooperation, as well as training and skills transfer within the Namibian hydrocarbon industry. Namibia is on track to usher in a wave of industry and economic growth, and the commitment of Africa’s energy ministers and the private sector will help the country realize its development objectives.