Mahama drums up Namibia’s energy potential
Windhoek – Former Ghanaian president John Mahama says Namibia has been identified among several African countries with the capacity and comparative advantage to supply its own power and meet the needs of the wider sub-regions.
Mahama, who lost the presidency to Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo Addo in December, is in Namibia on a three-day visit to advocate for clean energy supply in the region through public-private-partnership investment.
Mahama, who paid a courtesy visit on President Hage Geingob at State House yesterday, said due to Namibia’s strategic geographical position, the country can supply sufficient power to meet its own needs, as well as to neighbouring southern Africa states.
“It’s believed that Namibia is strategic in terms of stabilisation and increasing power supply in the whole of the Southern Africa region,” Mahama said.
President Geingob said Namibia is not only strategically located, but is also the land of the brave and hence, is ambitious in its aspirations for the future. “While the population is very small, we dream big. It will be good that we sit down and exchange views on how we can develop energy sources. It’s a crisis in this part of the world’s driest area.
“So, we are really having problems, but we would like to tackle it both in terms of our energy mix and solar [power]. We [also] have uranium here. So, all this clean energy you are talking about, we will look for people to join and advise us. All options are open,” Geingob said.
Mahama was expected to meet Minister of Mines and Energy Obed Kandjoze to discuss possible energy projects. He said there a special letter was already sent from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) expressing interest to collaborate with the Namibian government in power production.
He, however, could not shed more light on the nature of the proposed projects, nor its funding components, saying it will depend on Namibia’s policies and those of the UAE.
He said two months ago he attended an African Development Bank meeting in India, where five priority areas were identified. He said of the five selected areas, two of them were identified as critical, namely agriculture and power.
He said it was at the Indian meeting that he was selected as one of the advocates for the provision of power in both renewable and clean energy on the African continent. He further said in Ghana they have done a lot to expand their power generation, after the country went through a debilitating power crisis.
“Our economy has been growing at a very frustrating 6 percent and above and as a result, the demand for power kept on increasing… So, it got to the point where demand outstripped supply.
“We had to go into a load management fix, which was not popular with many people in Ghana. Probably, it was part of the reason that contributed to my loss of the election,” he said.
Nonetheless, he said they put in place measures to fast-track power production and were now enjoying stable power supply. Therefore, he explained they were looking at how to supply power to struggling nations with power deficits, such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, Burkina Fasso and Niger.
He said the intention is to use both solar, gas and other clean energy sources to expand power production.
Mahama said since leaving office he has been engaged in several assignments to deepen democracy on the African continent, including resolving the Gambia conflict at the request of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States).
He also expressed his condolences to Namibia for losing one of its key political leaders, late Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo, who passed away last month at the age of 92. – New Era.