Mining could catalyse economic development in Namibia

Paul Boughton

Namibia's economic growth potential lies in the expansion of its mines, an increased need for energy independence, and the discovery of oil and gas.

Economic growth will also be boosted by the expansion of Namibia's mines, particularly that of uranium mines, as well as the production that is expected to occur from new mines. Mine expansion should trigger the need for more electricity generation, encouraging growth in this sector.

While these are positive signs for Namibia, major challenges persist. Namibia is in urgent need of a new base load power generation facility by 2016. However, delays are usually common when securing finance for large projects such as this.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, The Future of Namibia and Energy, finds that the Namibian government currently imports over half of its total electricity needs. The discovery of the Kudu gas field and anticipated oil resources could help the country achieve greater energy self-sufficiency and reduce its dependence on imports.

"A breakthrough in the oil and gas sector in Namibia, which is relatively under-explored, holds enormous potential for the country," noted Frost & Sullivan's Energy & Environmental Research Analyst Muneera Salie. "If these resources are proven to exist, it could result in the country becoming one of the richest in Africa in terms of GDP per capita within the next five to 10 years."

Rapid growth of the oil and gas sector is expected over the next five years, with the exploration of six to eight new wells commencing within two years. It is set to aid in job creation and improves the general state of the nation.

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