By: Justicia Shipena
National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor)’s board chairperson Jennifer Comalie says the oil and gas discoveries in the country could double Namibia’s GDP by 2040.
Comalie said this in an interview with Qatar Economic Forum sponsor Bloomberg at the ongoing Forum in the middle east.
“So this is a massive game-changer for us. These two discoveries could bring up to U$5.6 billion to a tiny economy and double the GDP by 2040,” she narrated.
Hence, she said Namibia looks forward to having the resources to implement its plans to address our social-economic issues.
“What we have realised from the learnings of other African countries that have discovered oil and gas is that we need to be serious about local content.”
Comalie expressed that the country has an opportunity to negotiate that local content still.
“Wat it looks. What it will look like with our partners when we come closer to issuing that production license,” said Comalie.
While stating that Namibia has learned that policy is one, but there is a need for legislation in the country.
“This is to ensure we have the backing that these targets. That we can monitor them, enforce if those targets are not reached, so really the conversation in Namibia now is what will be that local content.”
The Namcor chair, however, says the discoveries of light oils in Namibia will not get the country into net zero.
When quizzed whether Namibia is receiving more pressure to deliver carbon neutral in producing net-zero oil, she said Namibia had discovered light oil.
Net zero means cutting greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as possible. Countries, Namibia included, were asked to come forward with ambitious 2030 emissions reduction targets that align with reaching net zero by the middle of the century, following Cop26.
“We were fortunate to have discovered light oil, which is lower carbon emissions, but we definitely not going to get onto the net-zero situation. We are looking at green solutions to power those productions,” she said.
She added that the new oil discoveries in Namibia have been a game-changer for the country.
“Our first discovery after independence, so it has really been more than 30 years of exploration and finally, we hit the jackpot,” she said.
While promoting the oil discoveries at the economic Forum, she also stated that all partners in these projects are aligned on the issue that Namibia needs to get to production as soon as possible.
“Actually, we are starting to look at designs to get to market as soon as possible,” she adds.
Comalie said Namibia needs to find alternative sources, especially in the green energy space.
“There is still a lot of technology that needs to advance, cost of that technology that needs to come down before putting solutions in place.”
Moreover, she said the country can still play a critical role in developing resources for Namibia’s benefit. According to her, this has a massive opportunity for us to do the right thing.
She touched on the green hydrogen project and added that Namibia is looking at it as a future project for Namibia but also getting involved now.
Quizzed about how real green hydrogen is a solution to global problems and how soon it can be delivered practically, Comalie said Namibia has invested a lot of energy into it and thought of it as a massive opportunity for the country.
“We are one of the global leaders in terms of wind and solar resources. We can compare ourselves very well to Chile and Saudi Arabia when we produce green hydrogen,” she explained.
She also said Namibia wants to be part of shaping that future.
“We are talking long-term here. We are talking 2030 and 2040, but in the interim, there are some things that we can do to speed up that process and pilot studies. We want to be part of that.”
At the same Forum, President Hage Geingob held bilateral talks with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani at the Royal Palace, Amiri Diwan.
Geingob informed the Emir that fighting poverty was a vital goal of the Namibian government.
Hence, he said Namibia seeks more investments from friendly countries like Qatar to grow the economy and create jobs.
He also emphasised that Qatar-Namibia commercial relations were growing at a fast pace.
The Emir lauded Namibia for its record of good governance and peace under the leadership of President Geingob.
With Qatar Airways resuming flights to Namibia on 25 June 2022, the two leaders agreed that the tourism sector held tremendous potential for growth.
In that vein, the Qatari government had shown interest in working closely with the Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) to scale up cooperation in the hospitality sector.
The two leaders also agreed that investments in energy, the hospitality sector and mining were showing positive results that could benefit the partnership.
The Emir also said Qatar was ready to share its experience in domains that could interest the Namibian government.
“In that vein, attracting investment through deeper economic partnerships with countries such as Qatar is a key priority of the Geingob Presidency,” a statement issued by the presidency read.
The Qatar Economic Forum concludes on 22 June 2022. On the last day, Geingob will address the Forum on inequality and the emergence of Namibia as a new green energy superpower in Africa.
Geingob will also hold meetings with key investors in the domains of agriculture, energy and other sectors.
The Qatar Economic Forum, in its second edition, brings together world leaders and entrepreneurs worldwide. This year’s second Forum is hosted under the theme “Equalising the Global Recovery” in 2022 with various heads of state, including more than 500 business leaders and more than 75 keynote speakers, who will discuss economic trends, challenges, and post-pandemic recovery.