Speaking at the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) gala dinner at a local hotel on Saturday evening, Van Pletsen also argued that the African economy has significant growth and development potential and is well resourced to become a leading energy source.
However, for such growth and potential to be unleashed, regional integration is necessary to boost and transform economies in the region to improve the productivity per worker and genral living standards.
"Africa accounts for 10.9 percent of the world's total oil production yet holds only 7.8 percent of the world's proven reserves. On the contrary, Africa accounts for 6.4 percent of total natural gas production but holds 7.7 percent of proven gas reserves. That opportunity is expanding even further especially in southern and eastern Africa where new oil and gas resources are being discovered and exploited," he pointed out, adding that the continent's installed power generation capacity is concentrated in just two countries, Egypt and South Africa.
Thus power production is exceptionally low making it necessary for the continent to import electricity to meet domestic demand. However, Africa has enough wind energy resources to meet a significant portion of its power demands, he said, suggesting that Namibia in particular should strongly consider exploring wind energy.
"Namibia is one of the most attractive wind sources in the world," he said, adding that Africa will require at least a doubling of total electricity production by 2030 from the current levels to provide full electricity to all Africans.
"Local entrepreneurs will be essential for African countries to have electricity access and modern cooking by 2030 [and] the availability of local financing plays a decisive role in the development of local markets," he said.
A 220-kilowatt wind turbine installed at Walvis Bay is to date the largest such installation in the country. However, there are several other stand-alone turbines located around the country used for electricity generation and water supply on farms, totalling about 70 kW.
In the meantime, United States of America (USA) president Barack Obama who is on a tour of Africa announced a N$7 billion initiative yesterday over five years to double access to power in sub-Saharan Africa. "More than two-thirds of the population of sub-Saharan Africa is without electricity, and more than 85 percent of those living in rural areas lack access," a statement issued by the White House said yesterday.
The United States will initially work with Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria and Tanzania to develop electricity power generation, officials said. It will also cooperate with Uganda and Mozambique on oil and gas management.