Namibia is one of many countries in the SADC region that is struggling to meet the fast-growing energy demand. In addition, a shortage of electricity infrastructure is undermining efforts to achieve more rapid economic development. The region in general, will depend on the availability of well-trained and skilled manpower to harness the abundantly available energy resources. Experts are confident that the best solutions to these challenges rest in renewable sources that will create economic opportunities. Delegates to the conference identified gaps, challenges and opportunities to change the status quo.
The Minister of Mines and Energy, Obeth Kandjoze, in an address read on his behalf by Sophia Swartz, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Natural Resources, said Namibia needs to develop solutions for heating, cooling, cooking, lighting, water purification and sanitation. “To this end, it will be important for Namibia to review the current policies and practices that affect energy provision and inhibit private sector investment in the country,” he said.
The Poly Rector, Tjama Tjivikua, said: “We are here to reflect on a critical ingredient in economic development, that is energy. One of the major threats in the SADC region has been the energy crisis. This is against the background that most countries are dependent on fossil fuels and continue to pollute the environment while contributing to global warming. The consequences of climate change are pushing us to make the necessary adjustments and to urgently seek alternative energy sources. It is appropriately fitting that this symposium is being held in Namibia, a country endowed with abundant solar and wind power potential.”
Namibia was earlier this year selected by SADC Ministers of this sector, to host the SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE). It is estimated that by 2040, Africa’s energy sector can create 2.5 million new jobs, mostly in renewables.