Training will drive Namibia’s energy plans

Niël Terblanché

One of France’s top universities, recently met with the Ministry of Mines and Energy on the sidelines of the African Energy Chamber’s (AEC) Invest in African Energy Forum in Paris to discuss efforts to advance academic cooperation across the energy sector.

Tom Alweendo, the Minister of Mines and Energy, and Ambassador Albertus Aochamub attended the meeting with the representatives of Sciences Po University.

According to a statement by the African Energy Chamber, the meeting in Paris was a conversation between representatives about the role that academic inclusion, opportunity, and training will play in driving Namibia’s energy agenda.

“Both the Ministry and Sciences Po outlined the need to advance capacity building in Namibia, with the organizations discussing opportunities for establishing a formal partnership to enable student exchange as well as high-level workforce training and on-the-ground experience,” the statement by the AEC reads.

At the meeting, the French tertiary institution’s Vice Minister for International Affairs emphasized the need to do more with Namibia, especially with its energy sector seeing a surge of development following the discovery of three oil and gas finds in 2022 and 2023 by Shell, Qatar Energy and TotalEnergies, and the kickoff of a large-scale green hydrogen development.

Sciences Po reasserted its goal of expanding its footprint and collaboration with the African continent.

The partnership will see a reciprocal exchange whereby Namibian students will study in Paris while Sciences Po students will engage in internship and job shadowing in Namibia.

Alweendo made it clear that Namibia is committed to advancing local content and capacity building, with particular emphasis on training energy sector-related personnel.

He said that it is the ministry’s intention to focus on human capital development to establish a competitive domestic market in-country and avoid overreliance on expatriates.

“Energy is not a country or regional challenge, but a global one. Namibia finds itself in a good space with three recent oil discoveries in a short space of time of which all are commercial. We have discovered oil in the middle of the energy transition, and according to many, we need to focus on renewables,” Alweendo said.

He said the energy transition is important and that Namibia can benefit from both oil and the development of Green Hydrogen.

“A transition of any kind does not happen overnight and in a straight line. It is always a journey,” Alweendo said.

The Invest in African Energy Forum in Paris, organized by the AEC in partnership with Rystad Energy and Afreximbank, is centred on strengthening Africa-Europe relations while advancing investment in untapped energy opportunities across the continent.

The discussions built on a previous partnership deal signed between the French institution and the University of Namibia whereby Namibian students will study abroad at Sciences Po, as well as the institution’s introduction of its Masters in Energy program – covering every facet of the global energy sector, according to the AEC.

With a new deal on the table between Namibia and Sciences Po, student exchange and bilateral cooperation are expected to improve significantly.

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