Kandjoze hails SADC energy infrastructure development pla

Mines and Energy Minister Obeth Kandjoze has lauded the multi-billion dollar SADC infrastructure development plan as coming in time to immensely benefit Namibia’s power supply, The Villager can disclose.

The plan is reportedly yet to be presented to potential funders at a special SADC investors’ conference that has been put on the cards by the regional leadership. “At this very moment, you are aware of our power status of which 60% of what we use comes from somewhere else. That in itself speaks volumes to Namibia’s particular importance in respect of this very project,” he told The Villager in an exclusive interview.

He however said that the role of Namibia in terms of how the project will be divided among SADC member states will only be spelt out after the high profile conference has been concluded.

He commended the conducive friendly environment in the SADC bloc as contributing to the success of Namibia’s power supply in the current period where black-outs are not the order of the day. “Right now as we speak you have had a whole period without load shading, that has also been in a large measure due to the good neighborliness between the SADC countries,” he told this publication.

Namibia’s economy has structurally changed and demands the feed stock for a continued heightened industrialization as per the NDPs, hence the investors’ conference comes in handy to have a positive bearing on the country, the minister also said. However, the conference will also see member states mapping out the way-for ward in terms of how the bloc can cut its dependency on private international players to solidify projects ownership and sustainability. Information provided to The Villager has it that member states will open dialogue on the possibilities of and strategies centered on self-funding although economies south of the Sahara have been operating below expected standards.

“Stagnation in economies is not in perpetuity, there are good times, better times and worst of times. I think with the correct application and awareness of resources financially mostly, in economically trying times of course there will be structuring of how that (self funding) can happen,” the minister countered.

He also said, “Overall, the opportunity cost of simply saying we have stagnated, we are not growing is much higher over the long term. The demand and growth at that point has not been met with the equivalent supply of energy. We need to keep being there, keep exercising, when resources are available, yes we can then storm in, unleash and have it.”

Meanwhile, SADC has sought six options for innovative sources of financing regional integration which are inclusive of an export and import tax; a tourism levy; a financial transaction tax; a lottery system; philanthropy; and regional events. Estimates have it that the bloc can potentially amass about US$1.2 billion on a yearly basis from these sources, enough to counter the dependence syndrome from outside aid. However, the success or impact of the SADC energy infrastructure development plan, albeit highly honored by the minister, can only be measured in the phase of implementation after it has attracted investors’ interest first.