By Josef Kefas Sheehama
Namibia and South Africa frequently set up a currency peg with a more powerful or advanced economy so that home businesses can access wider markets without taking on too much risk. Currency pegs can cause business disruption while maintaining stability between trading partners.
To meet the nation’s electricity needs, the Namibia Power Corporation (NamPower) imports around 64% of its power from neighbours. NamPower currently has three bilateral agreements, including 200 MW with ESKOM (South Africa), 100 MW with ZESCO (Zambia), and 80 MW with ZPC, according to their website (Zimbabwe). Because we can only create 24% of the energy we need, NamPower purchases power from the area to meet its needs. The bad news is that according to Eskom Chief Financial Officer Calib Cassim, even if the company is freed of R200 billion in debt, it will soon find itself in the same situation if tariffs aren’t raised significantly, costs aren’t reduced, and customers and municipalities aren’t made to pay their bills. Eskom is dependent on annual bailouts from the National Treasury because of its inability to pay its R400 billion in debt (www.news24.com). It is also impossible to permanently escape the debt trap because Eskom must pay more to produce energy than it can charge customers. Treasury is thinking about releasing Eskom from a sizable amount of debt, possibly up to R200 billion, to allow Eskom to borrow once more, say, from Cassim. Eskom is the source of about 30% of Namibia’s electricity. To address the Eskom power problem, the president of South Africa cut short his international travel. This serves as evidence of the need for mental effort. Hold hands and work together for the betterment of our nation.
Let’s talk about the economy, not politics. We want to stop talking about the economy right now. Politics is not something we eat. So, the economy will continue to be a topic of discussion. We will continue to discuss the steps that must be taken to strengthen green hydrogen and expand our economy. The government must examine hydroelectric dams and restructure Kudu gas.
Costs associated with interruptions in the delivery of energy might be high. Households pay costs as a result of the harm done to their economic activity and the need to invest in alternate forms of electricity. Additionally, household welfare suffers because there is less time for useful or enjoyable activities after sunset. The interrelated infrastructure of the water supply and the operation of healthcare facilities can become immobilized on a societal level.
As a nation, we cannot afford to rely solely on other nations for all of our needs. Namibia has incredible potential, but economic growth is necessary to address our pressing problems and bring about genuine quality-of-life improvements. As a result, Namibia as a nation needs to search within for answers. How much longer will we be able to rely on South Africa for all of our needs at all times? Namibia must start to rely heavily on domestic production since the time has come for the country to fully change into a smart, inclusive, and self-sufficient economy. As a country, we must reflect inward and ensure that Namibians have access to modern healthcare and education. Building a foundation of top-notch infrastructure, which will include dependable power, may stimulate industrial activity in Namibia as the economy aspires to develop and become self-sufficient. The supply chain would be facilitated by the development of an ecosystem of manufacturing, storage, and logistics businesses that would move up raw materials for value-added products and finished items to markets.
It is past due for Namibia to move to a clean energy economy by properly utilizing its enormous hydropower and plethora of solar energy sources to replace fossil fuels in both the business and household sectors. One of the promising links in Namibia’s economic transition could be the use of green hydrogen, which can be an essential energy transporter. The energy mix of the nation and the energy will be significantly impacted by this. Strong political and societal commitments, high-level knowledge transfers from academia to business and industry, and a readiness on the part of the commercial and business sectors to diversify their sources of income with green hydrogen are all necessary for the transformation process. Maintaining a high level of economic activity depends on hydrogen. economic structural changes and the effects of new technologies. The long-term objective is a hydrogen economy, which has the potential to provide economic, environmental, and energy security. However, there are many unknowns involved in the shift from a conventional petroleum-based energy system to a hydrogen economy, including the development of effective fuel-cell technologies, issues with the infrastructure for producing and distributing hydrogen, and the reaction of petroleum markets.
The time has come to take advantage of this chance and establish a setting that enables everyone in Namibia to prosper. Namibia will thus be able to achieve the degree of economic independence it seeks. Let’s acknowledge the progress made by our nation and instil hope; acknowledge that our issues are real but doable; read the environment for both good and negative indications; and recognize the potential of our economy and make investments in it. This is the process of change. Fundamentals are driven by attitude, not the other way around. In the medium run, this could at least offer some assurance and stability. The negative effects of Eskom load shedding may impede economic development and growth. The high cost of relief and recovery may hurt infrastructure investments and other development activities in the area, and in some circumstances may even paralyze the already fragile regional economy. Namibia’s supply chain will be disrupted by load shedding in South Africa. Loadshedding in South Africa, which has been disastrous, will undoubtedly affect inflation.
Therefore, it is clear that renewable energy sources have considerable potential to meet mainstream electricity needs. However, having solved the problems of harnessing them, there is a further challenge of integrating them into the supply system, where the most demand is for continuous, reliable supply. Sun, wind and waves cannot be controlled to provide directly either continuous dispatchable power to meet base-load demand, or peak-load power when it is needed.