Mines and energy executive director Simeon Negumbo says Namibia’s overall electrification rate is estimated to be about 50 percent.
Negumbo revealed these statistics during the commemoration of the electrification day on Tuesday at the Nedbank head office in Windhoek under the theme ‘accelerating electrification to achieve universal access by 2040’.
According to Negumbo, about 300 000 households in Namibia are still un-electrified.
“Our estimates are that between 70 and 80 percent of our rural households do not have the kind of access brought to you today the figures in urban localities are much better,” he said.
He also revealed that around 70 percent of households in urban areas are connected to the power grid.
Earlier this month, the Namibia Statistic Agency 2019/2021 Census Mapping report revealed that about 53 percent of households in Namibia use firewood as the main source of energy for cooking, and only 31 percent of the households use electricity from mains.
The census report also showed that electricity from mains as the main source of energy used for lighting stood at 45.6 percent for all households in Namibia.
However, about 62 percent of rural households used battery lamps and torch cell phones for lighting.
On this note, the mines and energy executive director said there is a great number of people who do not have the means to hit a switch and have lights on so their children can study at night or cook using modern stoves.
“Or preserve their food and drinks in a refrigerator or run a barber shop or salon that requires electricity to make money and support their families,” he expressed.
Negumbo said government intends to set a clear direction and undertakings regarding the country’s further electrification.
He aired that although it might seem that Namibia has taken a long time to reach its desired electrification rate, every little milestone counts as an achievement.
“Electrification is a national challenge and one which the government through the ministry of mines and energy is committed to taking on. To this end, the Harambe Prosperity Plan has sat targets to put the framework in place to speed up the electrification rate,” said Negumbo.
In this light, he said the ministry has set a target to have all the households in Namibia electrified by 2040.
However, he said that extending the grid to all the corners of the country is costly as electricity infrastructure must be maintained and replaced when it gets old, adding that it is a daunting task.
At the event, Negumbo called on the public and private sectors to coordinate and be involved to reach these goals.
“It is only through considered efforts and dedication from all stakeholders that we will reach this target of ours and maintain our infrastructure for the benefit of all.”
Negumbo highlighted that although it is hard to imagine real development without electricity, the presence of electricity is by no means a pledge for development.