The Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) is one of the Namibian governments’ well written national documents. It is easy to read and has clear objectives. Upon reading it, citizens can relate the objectives to themselves and be part of a collective vision.
Chapter 6 of HHP which is titled Infrastructure Development is of interest to energy enthusiasts. Currently, Namibia imports over 60% of its energy needs from its neighbors. This is a concerning situation for a country with serious growth plans. South Africa’s power utility, Eskom experienced the highest peak in demand for electricity on 01 August 2016 at 34 922 MW. Most of this power is generated in South Africa. In the event of a shortfall, Eskom has backup diesel generators to compensate for the shortfall. Granted, they did experience load shedding when demand outmatched supply. However, they have strategies in place to ensure power is generated from within their country. Namibia on the other hand has a peak of around 611MW, of which only 40% is generated locally. Although unwise to compare Namibia to South Africa, it is done nonetheless to give us some perspective.
The Harambee Outcomes number 11 states that there should be an Increase in local electricity generating capacity from 400 MW to 600 MW with regard to electricity supply during the Harambee period. Two other objectives under this outcome include the Provision of electricity to all schools and health facilities by 2020; and Increase in the rural electrification rate from 34 percent in 2015 to 50 percent by 2020.
We are already approaching the end of 2016 which leaves roughly 4 years to 2020, when most of the objectives for outcome number 11 are supposed to have been realized. Although no official statistics provided as to the capacity that has been increased since the inception of the Harambee period, general perception is that the goals might not be reached in the desired period. Hon. Tom Alwendo,. Minister of Economic Planning and Director General of the. National Planning Commission, said the Harambee Prosperity Plan will not replace the Fourth National Development Plan but instead “Our implementation can be faster. We want to fast-track some areas of NDP4”.
A major problem with a number of policies in Africa is the time it takes to implement them. We find countries have well-crafted policies, but the problem is the speed at which they are implemented, a sentiment shared by the First Lady of Namibia.
It is however encouraging to note that the Electricity Control Board (ECB) has issued a number of Renewable Energy Renewable Energy Feed in Tariff matters (REFIT), 14 of which have reached financial closure and are expected to add 70MW to Namibia’s Grid. The hope is for these licensees to realize their projects to add much needed power to our National grid, thus reducing our dependence on foreign countries.
There will be a need for the private sector, the public sector and academic institutions to work together for the said goals and outcomes to be realized. “We must make energy everybody’s business” as stated by ECB CEO Madam Foibe Namene.