Embracing Namibia’s Black Gold Rush


Akin to the frenzied gold rush of America in the 19th century that defined an entire era, fast forward to present-day Namibia.

As we chart our course into this new era, it’s important to note the opportunities that lie ahead and the responsibility we bear as custodians of our nation’s future.

The recent flurry of commercial discoveries in the offshore Orange Basin brings a monumental shift in Namibia’s economic landscape.

TotalEnergies, alongside Portuguese counterpart Galp and supermajor Shell, have unearthed a treasure trove of hydrocarbon reserves, positioning Namibia as the veritable new frontier in the global oil exploration market.

The most recent Mangetti-1X well and Mopane discoveries stand as a testament to the vast potential lying beneath our coastal waters, waiting to be harnessed for the benefit of our nation.

Yes, we have to remain cognisant of the global energy transition and zero net emissions goal.

The reality on the ground is different: We have oil now and we have to maximise its potential while working towards these goals.

The socio-economic ramifications of the oil and gas industry extend far beyond the confines of exploration rigs and drilling platforms. They permeate every facet of our society.

First and foremost, the emergence of the oil sector presents unparalleled opportunities for job creation and skills development.

The demand for a diverse array of talent will soar as we delve deeper into oil extraction and refinement.

Namibia must prioritise local content and youth participation for employment and capacity-building initiatives to ensure that Namibians are at the forefront of this burgeoning industry, reaping the benefits of economic empowerment and self-sufficiency and essentially fulfilling the late president Hage Geingob’s dream.

Our discoveries hold the potential to revolutionise Namibia’s economy, potentially generating thousands of jobs and injecting billions into the country’s gross domestic product.

Projections suggest that by 2040, Namibia’s economy could double in size, highlighting the transformative impact of the oil and gas sector.

Moreover, the influx of foreign investment and expertise offers a gateway to bolstering our infrastructure and fostering technological innovation.

As we embark on ambitious projects to exploit our oil reserves, we must leverage these partnerships to fully enhance our own capabilities and fortify our national infrastructure.

Fossil fuels and sustainable energy can coexist.

However, with great promise comes great responsibility.

The spectre of the so-called ‘resource curse’ looms ominously, threatening to trap us in a cycle of dependency on foreign powers, corruption within and environmental degradation.

To avoid these pitfalls, we must adopt a holistic approach to resource management, guided by principles of transparency, accountability, and environmental stewardship.

By enacting robust regulatory frameworks and fostering a culture of ethical governance, we can safeguard our natural heritage for generations to come, ensuring that the benefits of our oil wealth are equitably distributed and sustainably managed.

We have the potential to enrich every Namibian as opposed to widening the poverty gap.

In conclusion, the dawn of Namibia’s oil rush represents a watershed moment in our nation’s history, offering a rare opportunity to chart a course toward prosperity and progress.

As we stand on the precipice of this new era, let’s seize the reins of our destiny with unwavering determination and foresight.

The road ahead will be filled with challenges, but with unity of purpose and collective national action we can navigate the currents of change and emerge stronger and more resilient than ever before.

The time to act is now.

Paulo Coelho

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